By: JESS WEBSTER
Round 8 Rising Star Nominee: Darcy Cameron-Reeves
Redland midfielder Darcy Cameron-Reeves is beginning his rise up the ranks all over again after a strong start to the 2016 NEAFL season.
A Coorparoo junior, Cameron-Reeves joined the Brisbane Lions Academy as a 15-year-old where he achieved several milestones in his teenage years.
Cameron-Reeves captained Queensland at both Under-16 and Under-18 level, and won a NEAFL premiership with Brisbane in 2013 as a top-up player.
He joined Redland last season, but had a delayed start to the year after knee surgery and managed only 15 games.
With a full pre-season under his belt, Cameron-Reeves has played every match so far in 2016, and was nominated for the Rising Star Award after 25 disposals and nine marks against Gold Coast on Saturday.
Now 20, Cameron-Reeves said transitioning into senior football relieved some pressure from being involved in the talent pathways, but felt like he was starting from the bottom again.
“The academy and the QLD talent pathway, they are very professional. Not to say Redlands isn’t, but there isn’t as much pressure in club footy. You are sort of out of the spotlight and not thinking about the AFL Draft and things like that,” he said.
“But last year I went back into my shell a bit because I felt like I was the new kid on the block.
“Though Under-18s I was probably the main inside midfielder, whereas this year we’ve got blokes like Blake Grewar, Hayden Bertoli-Simmonds and Brad Rees who are prominent ball winners.
“I’m playing a bit more defensive, which I’m happy to play. There has been a change, much like the leadership side of things. In Under-18s you are the oldest and biggest, and then you get to senior footy and its back down the bottom again.”
Cameron-Reeves found his debut season with the Bombers tough at first, but as the season wore on he began to find his place, finishing in the Top 10 of the Dowling Medal count.
“There is more of as sense of community and family with club footy, so I think that was the biggest difference when I joined last year,” he said.
“It was initially pretty tough, because I hadn’t done a pre-season with the boys and I didn’t know a lot of them, but as the year went on it was very enjoyable.”
As one of a number of young faces within the Bombers’ squad, Cameron-Reeves sees a bright future at the club.
Achieving consistency in his performances continues to be his aim, and he sees no reason why the Bombers can’t make finals this year if they team can do the same.
“I’m enjoying having a bit more of an important role in the team this year,” he said.
“I’d like to work on my consistency. I’ve played a couple of good games but have also have been a bit quiet in others.
“I’d love to make finals, so that’s more of a team goal, but personally I’m just trying to get as much form in as I can. There is a lot of potential at Redlands.
“A lot of people were counting us out at the start of the year but we always knew we would be a chance at finals.
“It’s not really surprising to us that we’re in the top six at the moment. We are happy, and we are comfortable, but there is always room for improvement.”
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 top-up players) at the start of the 2016 season.
Keep track of all the 2016 nominees and watch their individual highlights on our dedicated Rising Star page here.
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