By Terry Wilson
Image: RF Photography
Western Magpies young gun Jack Austin is in an elite group of players to have earned QAFL Rising Star Award nominations in successive years.
Austin, only 18, is the Round 10 nomination for the prestige gong after a series of impressive efforts for the Magpies this year.
It was on his seniors debut, in the opening round of 2018, that Austin was similarly named as a Rising Star nominee. He played seven seniors matches last year and has managed eight so far this season, missing just the one through suspension.
Described by Magpies coach Brydan Morgan as a developing tall forward with a lot of talent, the big left-footer has improved in a number of areas playing up front for the black and white stripes.
“He can take some fantastic marks and generally he is a pretty reliable set shot for goal,” said Morgan, who highlighted one particular facet of Austin’s game that has come along in leaps and bounds.
“Like a lot of young tall forwards his work rate at ground level was terrible, but over the last year he has really improved that area.”
Standing at 193cm and tipping the scales at 85kg, Austin has a pretty useful build and understandably would like to play at a higher level – but only after he satisfies himself that he can play out this year then see what his future holds after that.
“I’ll just focus on playing this year and whatever happens then, so be it,” Austin said after kicking his 10th goal of the year last weekend against Surfers Paradise.
The teenager, who turns 19 on Boxing Day, loves the way St Kilda legend Nick Riewoldt went about the game and he would love to develop some of the traits the super Saint had.
“I liked Nick Riewoldt when he was playing and I’m trying to model myself some ways on him,” Austin said.
The left-footer made it to the Magpies via a journey that took him to a number of clubs.
His first kick of the Sherrin was as a 10-year-old with the Calamvale Leopards after he played rugby league at school.
He then switched over to Mt Gravatt for a season, then landed at the Beenleigh Buffaloes in 2016 before switching to the Western Magpies in 2017.
He played colts that year, then progressed to the seniors when he made his top-grade debut last year.
It was last year that Austin played a game game with the NAB AFL U18 Academy Series.
QAFL RISING STAR NOMINATIONS
Round 1: Nathan Colenso, Morningside Panthers
Round 2: Lochlan Harrop, Sandgate Hawks
Round 4: Angus O’Brien, Wilston Grange Gorillas
Round 5: Sam Hilton-Joyce, Surfers Paradise Demons
Round 6: Jack Wratten, Mt Gravatt Vultures
Round 7: Loki Haines, Sandgate Hawks
Round 8: Harrison Arnold, Broadbeach Cats
Round 9: Dan Edwards, Western Magpies
Round 10: Jack Austin, Western Magpies