Aaron Highlands is the round 12 QAFL rising star nominee, after an impressive performance for the Western Magpies against Morningside on Saturday.
Despite the Western Magpies suffering a disappointing 29-point loss, Highlands still managed to play a stand out game and make a difference in the ruck.
“I felt like I played a good game on Saturday. I had few good marks and I had a few good kicks but there is always room for improvements,” Highlands said.
“It would have been nice to come away with the win to help guarantee that we make the finals but the coach said we should still be very proud of our efforts,” he said.
Highlands was humble when receiving the news that he had been nominated.
“I’m really happy to be nominated, but honestly I just love playing AFL football for such a great club and with some really great blokes,” he said.
“All I aim to do is to improve my performance each week and just play to the best of my abilities.”
The start of Highlands football career wasn’t the usual road to success.
“It was actually my chiropractor that inspired me to play AFL football. I was attending an appointment at the age of 14 and he invited me to join this club,” said Highlands.
“I just went along and feel in love with the game and have never looked back.”
Highlands played for the Coorparoo Junior football club until he was 17 and then Yeronga South Brisbane club until he was 18.
Now at age 20, he is in his first season of senior football with the Western Magpies.
“Overall, I think this season is going pretty well. The boys are playing decent football and we are on track to reaching the finals,” said the ruck prospect.
“The biggest challenge that I face when playing ruck, is being smaller when compared to everyone else in the competition but it just forces me to become a better footballer.”
The 20-year-old has a genuine love for AFL football and the Western Magpies, saying that the biggest role model he has for this football career are the coaches.
“Good role models for me this year and (the) people (that) would have helped me learn and improve my game, are all the coaches at the Western Magpies,” he said.
Highlands also draws inspiration from fellow teammates to help him become a better footballer.
“Dom Beer is another role model to me. He is a senior ruckman for the senior team and Ben Jaenke-Cain. They have really helped me out this year with learning the role,” said Highlands.
Aaron is very content with where his football career is at right now and just wants to continue to enjoy the game and pursue his love for football.
“At the moment, I just happy playing socially. I am surrounded by a good club with some good blokes and am just really enjoying playing AFL football,” he said.
By Zoe Nilsen