By JESS WEBSTER
A lot has changed in 2018 for Canberra midfielder Jarrod Osborne, but the emerging talent seems to be taking it all in his stride.
The Manly Bombers junior was a member of the Swans Academy for nearly a decade before he needed to find a new home this year.
Osborne also needed to transform himself playing an unfamiliar role on the wing to fit in to the Demons line-up.
But slowly he found his feet in his new environment, and produced a career-best performance on Saturday to well and truly signal his arrival in the NEAFL.
The 19-year-old collected 34 disposals, 10 tackles and a goal to earn nine NEAFL MVP votes, plus this week’s Tribal Sport NEAFL Rising Star nomination, in the Demons’ 40-point win over Redland.
“The (Swans) academy certainly set up the foundations for me and since coming to Canberra, the biggest thing has been settling in to a new environment and senior football,” Osborne said.
“That was definitely the best NEAFL game I have played on the weekend. It gives me huge confidence going forward, especially leading in to the back end of the year.
“Hopefully I can produce similar games and have that kind of influence on the team.”
Osborne first joined the Swans Academy when he was in under-11s as part of the very first intake in its inaugural year.
He made his NEAFL debut in 2016 for the Swans and played a further seven games last year whilst balancing Under-18 commitments.
Osborne showed promise, winning the Swans MVP Award for his performance in the Under-18 Academy Series and made the Allies squad, but admits he didn’t quite hit his peak in the back end of the season.
With a fresh start at Canberra, Osborne hopes that won’t be the case this year as the Demons build towards a maiden finals campaign.
Osborne said the culture at the club is infectious, and the selfless brand of football they play has put them in good stead.
“We knew from the start of the season we were quite talented being a young side, and skilful, but from the pre-season we formed pretty solid bonds within the whole team,” he said.
“I’d say we’re one of the best sides who can play well as a team. I think that’s really helped because everyone plays for each other.
“We were all finding out feet, being a bit inexperienced, at the start of the season, but once we started to build that confidence and string some wins together, that work we did in the pre-season has really shown.”
For Osborne, he has become a more dynamic player and is enjoying the freedom he has found on the wing.
“Coming in to the year I was hoping to play in the midfield but obviously there are quite a few strong players in there at the moment,” he said.
“Kade found a new role for me on the wing. It took me a few weeks to get used to it, but now that I have found my feet in that role, I have gotten used to it.
“It’s a really good spot for me.”
Consistently and a shot on the big finals stage are the next aims for Osborne, who still harbours ambitions to make it to the elite level.
The Tribal Sport NEAFL 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 2018 season.
Keep track of all our 2018 nominees here.
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