Connor Stackelberg has been a consistent performer for Sandgate all season, and this week, he gets rewarded with the round 8 Rising Star nomination.
Stackelberg had a bit more freedom in his game on Saturday. He came up at the footy more; presented all day, and booted two majors to top it all off.
Even though they didn’t get the result they wanted, he walked off the field with his head held high.
“It was a hard day out there on the field, their bigger bodies got us in the end, Stackelberg said.
“I was able to run around a bit more which opened up a few opportunities. I don’t mind that, it’s something different, so it’s good.”
Stackelberg has played most of the year as a stay-at-home half-forward, kicking seven goals in his last four games.
“Having the opportunity to play that key position role has helped, the coach has really given me a go,” he said.
His breakout game in 2015 came against Wilston Grange in round 3, kicking three goals for the Hawks, and was their most dangerous forward all night.
A modest Stackelberg didn’t agree.
“They were up by a fair bit so a few goals wasn’t too important to us really,” he said.
His performances this year have led to multiple selections in Brisbane’s NEAFL side, although one game didn’t go exactly to plan.
“I only played 48 seconds of one game after getting knocked out in the first quarter, but it’s a really good opportunity to play at that level,” Stackelberg said.
With Bomber Adams as coach, there has been a sense of familiarity about 2015 for Stackelberg, and he has thrived because of it.
“He has been a big help. He was my under 16’s coach, and we get along really well and he is a great coach,’ he said.
Looking ahead, Stackelberg’s goals for 2015 are pretty simple.
“I just want to play every week, and hopefully kick a couple of goals,” he said.
“We are sitting at 3-5, but we are going much better than last year, there’s a much better culture around the club.”
There have been a few key factors to Sandgate’s improvement. Stackelberg is one of them.
By Andrew Wiles – @andrewjwiles