Round 4 Mooroopna Gold Club Rising Star
Mansfield youngster Tom Gardiner is using his axing from the Murray Bushrangers as a top age player to establish himself as a regular senior footballer.
The 19-year-old progressed through the ranks of the Murray Bushrangers junior program before eventually earning a handful of games as a bottom age player.
Unfortunately he didn’t make it in the second year, playing a full year in the thirds in 2016 at Mansfield.
Gardiner says he remembers his debut game in the final round of 2015 against Seymour like it was yesterday.
“I remember that it was fast paced and how much I enjoyed the experience,” he said.
“My first kick was a goal and it was pretty exciting with all the boys getting around me.”
This season, Gardiner has played every game and he says he is really enjoying it despite the Eagles sitting at 1-3.
“I have absolutely loved it. It is a super competitive environment and I love playing senior footy. That is my goal is to play the best I can and ensure that I become a consistent contributor,” he said.
Senior players Brett Mahoney and Adam Boshevski are two of the players the youngster looks up to while he is enjoying playing under coach, Cameron Hotton.
“Cam is a fantastic coach and he really tries hard to get the best out of every player while Adam and Brett have been really good to me. They are really professional and helpful, meaning I am learning a lot from them,” he said.
Gardiner says the team’s goal is to play finals despite the slow start to the season.
“We are definitely heading in the right direction and against Kyabram we did really well in some of the key areas of the game,” he said.
Despite having a poor record against Euroa, he says the team is approaching the game like it does any game and that is to win.