By JESS WEBSTER
Photo: Matt Corby/NEAFL.
Sydney Swans Academy member Jake Brown is hoping his bad run of injuries is over following a superb return to the NEAFL at the SCG on Saturday.
The 19-year-old midfielder earned the Round 17 Rising Star nomination after collecting 24 disposals, six marks and four inside 50s in the Swans big win over NT Thunder.
It was Brown’s first NEAFL match since Round 8, and the first game of any kind after an eight-week injury.
The promising midfielder has battled a shoulder reconstruction and stress fractures in the past two years, the latest injury ruling him out of the Allies team in this year’s National Under-18s Championships.
Brown’s return on Saturday was an important step for the young gun as he hopes to put himself in AFL Draft contention with a strong finish to the NEAFL season.
“My game on the weekend was the first time in about a year where I haven’t been sore after a match,” Brown said.
“It felt unreal. It was good to get back out there. You have to think to yourself that if you finish the season strongly, who knows what can happen.”
Originally from Coffs Harbour, Brown, 19, has been a member of the Swans Academy since he was 12 and made his NEAFL debut for the Swans back in 2015.
The elite endurance runner – Brown took out the 2017 Swans academy three-kilometre time trial – is fiercely competitive and is longing to showcase his best football when it matters most.
With Sydney flying high at the top of the ladder and the favourites to win their first ever NEAFL Grand Final, is poses added motivation for Brown to cement his place in the side.
“That is where the academy helps so much – the culture is the same the whole way through,” he said.
“‘Crouchy’ (Jared Crouch) was the old NEAFL coach and has now come in to the academy, so he has brought everything down from that level and taught us everything, so we go into the NEAFL knowing what’s happening.
“I definitely want to cement my place in the side and hopefully be a part of some club success.”
The Rising Star is awarded to the most promising young talent in the NEAFL competition.
Nominees must be under the age of 21 and played less than 20 senior games (excluding games as AFL Academy players) at the start of the 2017 season.
Keep track of all our 2017 nominees here.
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