By Grant Hitzman
Panthers midfielder, Rhys Power, is the QAFL Rising Star nominee for Round 5 after a standout performance against Wilston Grange on Saturday.
The nomination caps off a purple patch of football for the 20-year old, who was also named in the 2014 QAFL state squad this week.
Morningside coach, David Lake, said Power was starting to see the rewards after a change of attitude had refocused the young midfielder.
“Rhys’s attitude wasn’t right last season, he became bitter about playing in the twos and didn’t have the passion to compete at the elite level,” Lake said.
“He went away, came back refocused and the change has been exceptional in his application to all aspects of football.
“I worked him really hard during pre-season and he was up for the challenge – his running is now up to scratch and in my opinion he is training harder than he used to play last year.”
Power admits that he lost the drive for football last season which significantly affected his attitude and nearly cost him a spot at Morningside.
“Last year I hated training and playing footy and to be honest I probably should have been shown the door by the club, I was a real brat,” Power said.
“I took some time off and came back with a changed attitude and thankfully Lakey was happy for me to come back.
“If it wasn’t for him (Lake) and his dedication to get me on the field, I probably wouldn’t be playing footy, so I owe a lot to him.”
Lake said he was aware of the potential the inside midfielder possessed and wanted to push him in every aspect to test the youngster’s dedication.
“Rhys has exceptional quickness, balance and run for a 20-year old and since the pre-season he has really shown that he doesn’t want to be a kid anymore, which is a step you must take in senior footy,” Lake said.
“I wanted to see how Rhys would react to disappointment, so I decided to leave him out of the senior team in Round 1, and he went and played a best on ground game in the twos.
“I put him in next week and he just keeps going from strength to strength, the challenge now is (whether) he turns four weeks of good footy into five, six, seven until he develops that elite consistency.”
Power also praised the coaching of Lake and how it has helped him relish different opportunities on the field.
“I’ve been playing a lot on the wing this year, which at first I didn’t like because I’ve always hated too much open space,” he said
“But Lakey has encouraged me to take the game head on and use my strengths and I’ve been enjoying my footy a lot more because of it.”
While Power is unsure of where he wants to take his footy long term, the 20-year old is determined to capitalise on his new attitude and good form.
“I want to make it into the state starting team, keep earning senior selection every week and push for a premiership with the boys.”