Round 13 Rising Star: Connor Stackelberg

Connor Stackelberg’s seven goal effort earns him the round 13 rising star nomination.

Sandgate Coach Graham Adam’s decision to switch the 18-year-old from the down back to up forwards paid off as he became the Hawks’ key target.

His sharp shooting wasn’t enough to ensure a win as the Western Magpies ran out with the game, 97 points to 69.

“It was pretty tough to play so well personally, but still lose the match,” he said.

“Kicking so many goals felt good and gave me some confidence back.”

The youngster believes his sides physicality and determination allowed them to stay in the match.

“The whole team was hard at the footy and our skill level was good,” he said.

“The coach was happy with my performance and it really paid off to switch position as I hit up the leads well.”

The second-last placed Hawks have begun to string together some good halves of football which has Stackelberg optimistic.

“We clicked on the weekend and if we keep this form up we can get a few wins,” he said.

“We really need to work on our second half performances. I think we’ve got the fitness but we just lose our focus.”

Playing a number of games for Aspley in the NEAFL has inspired Stackelberg to continue to improve.

“Any game I’ve got with Aspley has been a bonus and I’ve taken the opportunities with both hands,” he said.

“I want to push myself and get a lot more games at Aspley. I just love playing footy and I’ll see where it takes me.”

Training with the Queensland senior rep program this year was another reward for Stackberg’s good performances.

He says he owes a lot of his success to Sandgate and the club’s culture.

“I have played at Sandgate for a few years now and everyone is so close and we have some great fun,” he said.

The Hawks are aiming to get some experience into their young squad in order to build for the coming years.

“We are a pretty young team with a great culture and I think we could become a solid team in the future,” he said.

Sandgate will be given the ultimate test when they host, first placed, Palm Beach Currumbin on Saturday at 2pm.

The Hawks’ will again be hoping for a big performance from Stackelberg if they are to stay in the match.

By Josh Martin

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