DANIEL Merrett knew there was something special about Josh Schache from the moment he laid eyes on his ... well, bed.
That was back in December after the youngster from Victoria was drafted by the Brisbane Lions and began staying under the veteran’s roof.
“I’m upstairs with the family, and he’s downstairs in his little lair down there,” the veteran defender told Australian Regional Media.
“One impressive thing that he does is every morning he makes his bed ... that was from day dot.
“For a young guy to wake up every morning and make his bed, I thought that was pretty impressive.”
If you’re on social media, you’ll probably be aware US Navy Admiral William H. McRaven says making your bed each day will give you “a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another”.
Merrett has watched on with pride of his own as 18-year-old Schache has met each challenge in his first AFL season head on.
“He’s been under the pump playing full forward in a struggling team, getting the No.1 defender each week,” he says.
“But he’s battling on and that’s all we can ask for.
“I can’t wait until he has 50 games under his belt.”
Schache looks set to have a tough task in what will be another heated Q Clash at Metricon Stadium tomorrow afternoon, when he’ll have big Gold Coast brute Steven May breathing down his neck, harassing him at every stage.
Schache, who leads the Lions in contested marking this season (19), will again lead the attack with Josh Walker omitted.
May infamously showed his penchant for the physical stuff when he floored Lions ruckman Stefan Martin with a high bump in the teams’ last encounter.
As a fellow member of the fullback club, Merrett admires the way May plays the position – most of the time anyway.
“He’s definitely a physical defender ... he’s a good player,” he said.
And while May could have a target on his own back after the incident that resulted in a five-week suspension, Merrett said: “You definitely still remember it, but you won’t be running out chasing individuals.
“There’s not a lot you can do other than beat them on the scoreboard, punish them that way.”
Merrett will have his own hands full minding the Suns’ dominant spearhead Tom Lynch, while fellow defender Harris Andrews takes Rising Star nominee Peter Wright.
Their battles will be pivotal to the result, with the Lions desperate to end a 10-match losing streak just as the Suns did last week and recharge morale.
“It’s obviously tough (suffering so many defeats), but internally we’re strong,” he said.
“It would be easy to just drop the bundle
“We’ve just got to keep thinking long-term. There’s a bit of pain at the moment, but hopefully that’s only short-term.”
In what is the AFL’s multicultural round, the Lions will get a kick out of the debut of Reuben William, who was born in South Sudan, while Dayne Zorko also returns.
“We’ve still got a few points to prove. We’ve still got a lot to play for the rest of the year,” Merrett said.
“But it would be nice to beat Gold Coast twice this year, that’s for sure.”
The Suns, meanwhile, have replaced Matt Rosa (hamstring) with Jarrod Garlett.