Katherine, a town 317 kilometres south-east of Darwin in the Northern Territory, is home to about 10,000 people and known as the place where “the outback meets the tropics”.
But the small community has another claim to fame: It’s where two brothers, Keidean and Blake Coleman, forged their AFL dreams.
There are only five sets of brothers playing for the same team in the AFL at the moment. Carlton, Collingwood and Geelong have one each, while the Brisbane Lions have two; the Coleman boys and the Berry brothers, Jarrod and Thomas.
How the Coleman brothers both landed with the Brisbane Lions can all be traced back to a decision made almost a decade ago.
‘Chance to be AFL stars’
Aged just nine and seven, Keidean and Blake Coleman packed up their lives to move across the country to Brisbane, in search of a “greater opportunity and the chance to be AFL stars”.
“It was Mum’s decision — she wanted us to get a good opportunity with footy and get a good education, so she thought moving us down here to live with our auntie was a good option for us and it’s all paid off,” Blake said.
Two months ago, a now 18-year-old Blake was taken by the Brisbane Lions at pick 24 in the 2020 NAB AFL National Draft.
And four weeks later he joined 20-year-old Keidean — who was drafted by the Lions at pick 37 in the 2019 NAB AFL Draft — for his first official AFL pre-season.
“It’s made it so much easier having [Keidean] around the club because, growing up, we’ve always been around each other, so when I got here, having him at the club made it so much easier.”
Keidean made his AFL debut in Round 15 of the 2020 AFL season against the Collingwood Magpies — the team he used to support growing up.
He would go on to play the next five games, including Brisbane’s qualifying final win against Richmond at the Gabba.
Keidean said he was confident it would not be long before Blake also made his debut.
‘Easy transition for us’
The brothers still fondly remember the day their mother told them they would be going on an adventure to Brisbane.
“At the time we thought it was a holiday,” Blake said.
“And then she sent us down. We ended up going to school and footy, and then we ended up staying.”
Keidean said it was tough leaving behind his family and friends.
“It was a bit emotional at the time, but once we got here [to Brisbane] it was good,” Keidean said.
“We were pretty fortunate to have our auntie, uncle and grandma that were working here, so it was an easy transition for us.”
Auntie Bernice Broome said when the brother’s mother rang to propose the move, she said yes without hesitation.
“It’s a big change coming from a small town, leaving your mum and your siblings,” she said.
“I thought being so young, they’d give it a year and be like, ‘Nah, this is too hard,’ so for them to still be here today, I am glad it all worked out in the end.
“Pretty much every game, junior football, I was there.
Ms Broome said it was hard to put into words how much it meant to the town of Katherine to have the brothers drafted to the Brisbane Lions.
“It’s huge for the town,” she said.
Now Keidean and Blake’s younger brother, Hamish has also moved to Brisbane.
“He was here quite a few years ago, but he got a bit homesick and missed him mum, but watching Keidean play on TV — I think it gave him the realisation that, ‘My brother’s doing so well, I want to go back,'” Ms Broome said.
“It’s better opportunity for him here school-wise and he gets to be with his older brothers.”
The fanatical Essendon Bombers supporter said she now considered herself a Brisbane Lions fan.
“I think I am going to have to become a Lions member now,” she said.