Big bodied midfielder Dakota Bannister is the Round 10 QAFL Rising Star nominee after a series of eye-catching performances for Palm Beach Currumbin.
In a hard-fought battle against Broadbeach, it was Bannister who stepped up and kicked two crucial goals in the 8-point win.
The Tasmanian product has produced consistent performances over the first nine rounds of the season, carving a midfield role as his own.
Bannister’s ability to move forward is perhaps one of the most exciting traits that the 18 year old possesses, helping him snare five goals this season.
His speed and finesse has attracted a lot of attention and is the part of the game he enjoys most.
“I’m an X-Factor, I play an inside midfield role and I think I bring a bit of flair,” said Bannister.
“I had a pretty good game [against the Cats], and I kicked a few goals, but I probably should have kicked a few more”.
Bannister finished off 2014 with Tasmanian State League premiers North Launceston before making the move north for a lifestyle change.
Playing an important role for the Tasmanian Under-18 representative team, Bannister learned a lot about his strengths in football and pushed himself against some of the best young players in the country.
“A big thing I noticed [during the carnival], I was a lot bigger than the other boys,” said Bannister.
“Coming up against other talent from all around the country, yeah it was a big challenge.
“I think my main strengths are my speed and marking, also my attack on the football”.
Lions Coach Chad Owens has nothing but praise for the ‘freakish’ talent he has in Bannister.
“[Just] his one-on-one footy, his ability to go into a contest and extract the footy, its exceptional,” said Owens.
“He’s really well built, something like 188 centimetres and 88 Kilograms, his strength on the ball is a big asset.”
Making his senior debut for the Lions in Round 1, Bannister has played every game since and has become a vital cog in PBC’s midfield.
The inside midfielder, who is just as comfortable on a half-forward flank, still has a few areas that could be improved, which Owens believes will push the young gun to another level.
“He can sometimes generate 5/6 chances, we just need him to finish them off and take that next step,” said Owens.
“His disposal could be improved, just his finishing.
“If he improved that, taking his chances, he can take his game from great to amazing”.
Dakota Bannister has come a long way in a very short amount of time, but holds very high ambitions for himself, and for club.
“Win a flag, I’m still getting used to the league, but obviously I want to win the flag,” said Bannister.
“Hopefully I’ll be in the AFL, but we’ll see”.
By Byron Parish