Morningside running-back Campbell Wearne is the final QAFL Rising Star nominee for 2016.
The 19-year-old saw plenty of the footy on Saturday, but it was a bittersweet moment as the Panthers were ultimately knocked out of finals by ninth-placed Sandgate.
“It was a bit disappointing, it’s all I’ve really thought about over the last few days,” Wearne said.
“I’m still a bit lost for words.”
Wearne has played a consistent role in the Morningside backline all year, often getting the job on some of the most dangerous small forwards in the competition.
“It’s been really good for my development, obviously playing on a fair few different guys who play in a lot of different ways,” he said.
“It’s helped my skillset out in various ways so it’s good to get that experience and know I can play on them in the future and do a job for my team.”
But Wearne says it hasn’t been easy adjusting to the rigours of senior footy.
“I’ve never really been a backman before, and then in my first senior game the coach sort of just came up to me and said I was playing in the backline.
“I haven’t really played anywhere else since, so I suppose having to learn a new role in a different team was a bit of a challenge for me.”
Before playing seniors, Wearne was a regular in the midfield for Morningside.
But the 19-year-old says he has work to do if he wants to play that role in the senior side.
“I do hope that I can rotate through there (the midfield) in the future but I might have to put on five or so kilos and a bit of muscle,” he joked.
“I want to become fitter and put on a bit of size so I can have that chance there next year.”
A loyal Panther to his core, Wearne says Saturday’s shock loss still hasn’t really sunk in.
“It’s a bit of a weird feeling not being in the finals this year with Morningside,” he said.
“I’ve been playing with Morningside since I was about six so it’s been a bit of a long road.
“I love the club and what it’s all about and hopefully we can bounce back next year.”
With his season effectively over, Wearne has set his sights on backing up his good form next year.
“I need to just put in a big preseason, obviously I’ve got that feeling inside me now that I want to remember of not playing finals this year,” he said.
“I’ll just try to cement my role in the team, then maybe NEAFL is an option later in my career.
“I’m going to make sure I can do everything I can so that we can play finals next year.”
By Josh Cheadle – @JoshCheadle20