By JESS WEBSTER

Photo: Adam Trafford/AFL Media.

 

Canberra midfielder Jack Powell admits the uncertainty of an AFL career plays on his mind, but he isn’t letting the pressure get in the way of finishing the 2017 NEAFL season with a bang.

The AFL Academy member earned a NEAFL Rising Star nomination following his starring role for the Demons against Southport on Saturday, picking up 21 disposals, 11 marks, seven inside 50s and seven NEAFL MVP votes in his first match since Round 10.

Powell – who turned 18 on Saturday – has been a member of the GIANTS Academy since he was 13 and first joined the AFL Academy after a dominant National Under-16 Championship campaign two years ago.

The elite junior said the anticipation of learning his fate at the NAB AFL Draft in November can cause some doubt at times, but he is determined to put his best foot forward in the NEAFL.

“It does stay in your head a bit. You have a couple of moments where you think, ‘can I do this, or can I not?’,” Powell said.

“But in the end I don’t try and think about it too much. For the rest of the year I’m just focusing on trying to really make a name for myself in the NEAFL in the last six weeks of the season.

“I want to try and do my best at senior level and try and push my name up there.”

Powell made his NEAFL debut last season and was a part of the GIANTS’ historic NEAFL premiership victory over Sydney as a 17-year-old.

The experience he has also gained from the AFL Academy and Allies programs has given Powell the confidence and motivation to keep pushing himself.

“It’s been a busy year with all of the travel and playing against some of the best young players in the country at my age. It’s been a good challenge,” he said.

“Being a part of the AFL academy with all of the other boys at your level who are trying to push each other higher has been great.

“We’re from all parts of Australia but we still keep in touch and that’s been really good, just meeting new people and making life-long friends.

“We’ve had lots of ex-AFL players around us, and I’ll take a lot from all of those boys.”

Powell relished the chance to return home to Canberra at the weekend and made his 18th birthday one to remember after playing a crucial role in helping the Demons snap a six-game losing streak.

And the exciting young talent can’t wait to do it all again this week.

“I had a great day on Saturday. I love playing at senior level,” he said.

“It’s good to be home again, and just playing some footy with your mates.”

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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