Shepparton youngster Rhiley Lau quickly shrugged off any nerves he was feeling to impress in his debut game against Kyabram in Goulburn Valley Football League on Saturday.OLIVER CAFFREY June 10, 2014 3:05am
Brad Campbell has full confidence in his emerging Shepparton brigade.
The Bears coach saw Saturday’s Goulburn Valley Football League game against Kyabram as the perfect opportunity to hand Rhiley Lau his senior debut.
Lau, 17, had no fears about lining up against the reigning premier at Kyabram Recreation Reserve.
While the Bombers ran away with the game after the Bears took a surprise quarter-time lead, there was plenty to like about the youthful Bears’ line-up.
Lau joined Jake Allen, Julius Battista, Miles Rowlands, Riley Michel and Paddy O’Sullivan as young Bears to debut this season.
Lau said any nerves about the occasion had almost entirely disappeared once he got out on the ground.
‘‘Even if it was against a weaker side, there would’ve been some nerves there,’’ Lau said.
‘‘I was pretty nervous heading into the game, but they were pretty much well gone by the time the game started.
‘‘I was told on Wednesday night after training I’d be playing, so I was pretty excited for the next couple of days, but I knew we had a job to do.’’
Lau played as a small defender, attempting to shut down the Bombers’ resting midfielders.
‘‘I had a role to do, it was obviously a lot quicker and I had to adjust to that, but it was a good, tough experience playing the reigning premier,’’ Lau said.
‘‘I’ll just try to play my role for the team and hopefully keep a spot in the side because it was great to be apart of it.’’
A keen cricketer, Lau missed part of the Bears’ pre-season due to his club Central Park-St Brendan’s capturing another Cricket Shepparton A-grade Haisman Shield.
Campbell said Lau’s cricket commitments had halted his progression, but had been always been hardworking at training.
‘‘He missed a bit of the pre-season because he had cricket commitments, so it was always going to take a bit of time to get up and running,’’ Campbell said.
‘‘But he was always someone we would bring up when he was ready, so we threw him in on Saturday.
‘‘He had jobs on some good, experienced opponents and handled himself in one-on-one contests well and we’re really pleased with what he could contribute.
‘‘He’s just a really balanced player, he’s cool and calm under pressure, which grabbed our eye, and made some really good decisions beyond his years.’’
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