Young Cat’s hard work pays off

By Beth Newman

Broadbeach’s Connor Riley doesn’t say much, but he is reaping the rewards with his ability to listen.

The 17 year-old played his best match for Broadbeach last weekend, earning him the Rd 13 QAFL Rising Star, and his ability to continually improve has impressed Cats coach, Wayne Petterd.

While Riley is one of the quieter players in the group, Petterd said his ability to take in feedback and show it on the field was an impressive attribute.

“It was the pick of his matches this year,” he said.

“He’s one of those ones who actually listens when you are coaching and they do respond what you’re trying to get through to them.

“He’s a very level-headed kid, he’s not a spruiker.”

That improvement has manifested itself clearly on the field, with Riley showing an improved defensive focus in recent weeks.

Riley’s on field characteristics have drawn some pretty heady comparisons from Petterd.

“He reminds me of (Andrew) Boston and Jared Ellis, he runs on top of the ground and he can be a bit of a ball magnet, ” he said.

 “He’s got a lot of upside.”

With his body shape and athleticism, Petterd sees Riley as an effective wingman and the youngster is finding his feet in that Cats midfield, a role he will likely occupy plenty more times before season’s end.

“He’s got that athletic, lean running type of body,”he said.

Not draft age until 2015, Riley will take plenty of senior experience into next season and Petterd believes he will be running for Queensland next season.

“He’d be a shoo in next year, one would think

“I think he needs another 12 months on this and if he keeps improving, he’s a big chance,” he said.

Away from the footy club, Riley has a pretty handy mentor in his dad, SUNS assistant coach, Mark Riley as well.

If Riley does eventually make the leap into the AFL, Petterd says he will have earned it.

“He’s been working overtime on his skills; he’s probably the first there and the last to leave,”

“He just loves footy –every time you see him, he’s at the oval, having a kick.

“He’s a special kid.”

Twitter: @bethknewman

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