By Terry Wilson
CURTIS Marsden has always known he possesses one of the main ingredients that every footballer yearns for – and that is sheer pace.
But the 20-year-old Palm Beach Currumbin flyer has admitted he did not know just how fast he was until the matter was brought to his attention by coach Chad Owens this year.
A PBC junior from his under-six days, Marsden is the QAFL Rising Star Award nominee for Round 19, the final of the year, before the judges sit down to determine the season’s overall winner.
Even though the wingman/half-forward did not have his best game of the year last weekend against Mt Gravatt, it was his form before that – including a standout performance against Wilston Grange the previous round – that pushed him into Rising Star calculations.
“I thought I’d been playing good footy all year, so I thought I was a chance (to get the nomination eventually),” Marsden told aflq.com.au.
“It is late in the year but it’s always good to get a bit of recognition.
“Last weekend wasn’t my best game of the year, I was probably a bit quiet, but I thought the week before I was good.
“I always want the team to win more than any individual awards, but I thought if it was going to be any week it was probably the previous week.”
Where the PBC High product has come on this season has been in using his blistering speed to full advantage – going both ways.
Owens takes up the story behind Marsden’s emergence: “This year Curtis has finally realised he needs to use his pace. And finally started to use that defensively rather than purely offensively,” Owens said.
“In previous years he used to be all about attack. Now he has learnt to use that asset and make opposition nervous.
“Don’t forget he runs the 100 metres in less than 11 seconds.”
Marsden obviously knew all along that he was fleet of foot, but it has really only been in 2018 that the penny dropped.
“I’ve always known that my main asset ever since I was playing junior footy was pace,” he said.
“But I probably didn’t realise how fast I was until this year, sort of thing.
“I’d always used it offensively but bringing that other element into my game this year (defensively) has helped me play a few more games this year.”
In 2015, the year he made his seniors debut for PBC as a 15-year-old, Marsden was among 25 teenagers invited to the AFL Academy in Melbourne following the NAB Under 16 National Championships.
After that he spent five seasons in the Gold Coast Suns academy system before having a pre-season with the Southport Sharks in the NEAFL.
“But that wasn’t successful, so I just wanted to come back (to PBC) and have fun again and play with my best mates,” he said.
“Ultimately, hopefully I want to win a premiership, but I want to enjoy my football more so than anything.”
Ahead of Marsden is a challenge to stay in PBC’s top 22 for the finals.
Getting named for the qualifying final on Saturday week is the immediate target, then it will be a matter of staying there as the Lions build back to full strength for the big games.
“It feels like my head is always on the chopping block, like a few other of our young kids are,” he said.
“But the more I keep playing good footy, hopefully I can keep my spot.
“I do want to win a premiership and be a part of that.”