Mitch Robinson with partner Emma MacNeill and their children, Charli and Chance. Picture: Liam Kidston.
Mitch Robinson with partner Emma MacNeill and their children, Charli and Chance. Picture: Liam Kidston. Liam Kidston

Lion sticking around to play finals

LITTLE Chance Robinson began his own football journey this week and dad Mitch could not have been prouder watching his son join in at Auskick for the first time.

A future Brisbane Lion in action?

"Robbo" just needs 24 more games to crack the ton at his adopted club and make five-year-old Chance eligible for the father-son rule.

"Yeah, another 11, 12 years, we'll see how he goes ... if he wants to play footy, no pressure," Robinson says with a laugh.

After departing Carlton, where he played 100 games between 2009 and 2014 following his drafting from Tasmania, the one-time bad boy Blue has become the consummate family man.

He is the devoted partner of Emma MacNeill, and the father of two, Chance and Charli, 2.

You can also add "big brother" to numerous teammates who call the Robinson household their home away from home.

Robinson, 29, is still playing a vital role on field for the fast- rising Lions, but some of his most important work is being done off it.

"They (teammates) come hang out with us," he says. "We have an open-door policy.

"That's what they miss when they're living away from home ... that family aspect. That's something we can provide."

Emma regularly cooks up a storm.

"She's an indigenous woman from a large family in WA (but) obviously being in Brisbane we don't have any family here," Robinson says.

"For her to have that little brother type thing ... she loves the feeling that they're leaving the house happy.

"It kind of just happened, we didn't plan for it. It's just the environment we've built around our house.

"I'm loving my time with the young guys - if I can be there for them to talk to."

Mitch Robinson's versatility has been integral to the Lions' finals push this season. Picture: AAP
Mitch Robinson's versatility has been integral to the Lions' finals push this season. Picture: AAP

Robinson, who plans to move into player management and perhaps player welfare when he retires, even provides haircuts for the boys.

"I've been doing a bit of barbering. The boys love the free stuff," he says.

Lions Alex Witherden and Cam Rayner were part of the cheer squad supporting Chance this week. All the boys are known as "Gugga" - uncle - to both Chance and Charli.

"Chance can reel off about 10 of the players he absolutely loves. He chops and changes who he thinks are his favourites," Robinson says.

Dad's always going to be No.1 though - alongside mum Emma, who has made her own mark in the women's QAFL with Wilston Grange.

A successful artist who designed the Lions' 2016 Indigenous Round jumper, she had to knock back an offer from the Lions' AFLW team.

"She's got work and is a mother of two .... it's hard to juggle everything, but she really enjoys it," Robinson says.

He admits there are some anxious moments when watching her play.

"It's hard ... when you see her run in .... now I know how my mum feels when she watches me," he said.

Robinson, delisted by Carlton after a number of off-field incidents, has thrived in Queensland since being given a lifeline by the Lions.

"There was a silver lining," he says. "Really got to focus on family life and football. We go up to Noosa for a day or down to Byron Bay."

He's become a gun player of the online video game Fortnite player - even taking part in a professional Esports competition in January - and has his own podcast, Rip Through It, which has become a ratings hit.

The icing on the cake would be success on the footy field - and he thinks it's coming.

He played the last of his five finals in 2013.

Mitch Robinson can see success ahead for the Lions. Picture: Daniel Pockett/AAP
Mitch Robinson can see success ahead for the Lions. Picture: Daniel Pockett/AAP

"I think finals success is on the way, and that's what I want to stick around for," he said.

"I've been through the tough times."

Robinson has been integral to the Lions sitting in the top eight at 5-3 ahead of today's clash with Adelaide, and his old mate Eddie Betts, at the Gabba.

After kicking seven goals across the past three weeks and earning the Marcus Ashcroft Medal as best afield in the recent QClash against Gold Coast, Johnson says he's making sure the coaches "aren't able to drop me".

"It's a little string to my bow," he says. "I've got a few roles I can play within the team ...can tag, play wing, go to half forward and kick a couple of goals."

News Corp Australia


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