Marco Paparone watches as his father battles cancer
NO ONE could blame Marco Paparone if he was to become the latest Brisbane Lion to request a trade in order to head back to his home state of Western Australia.
From a close-knit Italian family, the 19-year-old has had to watch from a far as his father, Claude, has continued his fight against lung cancer.
"He's been battling it for three years now," Paparone told APN this week. "He's getting all his chemotherapy, and it's going OK.
"We're all positive. He came out of his last chemotherapy and all the signs were looking a lot better than what they used to."
And partly for that reason, Paparone, who is signed until the end of this season, said this week his dad's situation "won't really affect my contract decision".
"It's in the back of my mind, but I'm trying not to think about it," he said. "My family is really supportive of what I want to do."
The youngest of four children, Paparone has been able to see his family back in North Fremantle as much as possible with strong support provided by the Lions.
"The club has been really good with that - every bye we have they allow me to go home and spend some time with them," he said. "He (his father) has come over three times this year. It's been good."
Brisbane will, of course, be desperate to keep him, but there is no doubt both WA clubs, especially the one he used to barrack for, Fremantle, would be keen to acquire his services.
Though still developing, Paparone is a promising lead-up half-forward come wingman who shows exceptional athleticism for someone that stands 194cm.
He initially tried to "resemble" St Kilda skipper Nick Riewoldt, but now playing more on the wing, he is modelling his game on Hawk Jack Gunston.
"I've been looking at how he plays. He does the runs back to goals and goes a little bit higher up the ground as well," he said.
After playing five games in his debut season, Paparone has played all 15 this year, and averaging 15 disposals and 4.5 marks a game.
Though he would like to have been a part of a few more wins, he is enjoying being part of his Lions family away from home.
He lives with fellow 2012 draftees Sam Mayes and Michael Close, who have extended their contracts at the club - and may just help sway him to stay put as well.
The likable youngster certainly talks as though he is in for the long haul. "We all get along really well," Paparone said. "We're building towards what we want to achieve."