You could forgive Tim McGenniss for being a little intimidated when he was handed the task of tagging a player who has racked up over 100 AFL games. But instead of shying away from the task, the young rookie took it in his stride.
Playing on Nathan Lovett-Murray from Essendon in Saturday’s VFL match, McGenniss showed off his developing maturity as a player.
“It was a good challenge for me and he’s (Lovett-Murray) a good player, I enjoyed it,” McGenniss told NMFC.com.au.
“You don’t get overwhelmed, if anything you get more excited because it’s a great challenge. You want to keep at your role so you prove you can mix it with AFL players and you’re up to the standard.”
Not only did the 19-year old minimise the impact of his opponent in the game, but he also managed to win his own ball. He finished with 17 possessions and a goal.
“It was difficult because Lovett-Murray’s so strong and I couldn’t really get in a wrestle with him to get the ball, so I had to move around him better and use my pace,” McGenniss explained.
“Early on, I probably was more focused on him too much and Westy (Werribee coach Scott West) said he wanted me to hunt the footy a bit and go get it for us, because if we were going to win we needed our mids to get their hands on the ball.
“It was good to have the coach’s confidence in me to go out and get the ball as well as focus on my man.”
Gaining more confidence in his position and where he’s best suited on the ground has enabled McGenniss to see great improvements in his game.
“I started up forward at the beginning of the year which was a new role for me, but coming into the midfield lately I feel like I’m playing better footy.
“I love it in the midfield. You’ve got Crusher (Daniel Currie) in the ruck, Moorey (Jarred Moore), Gys (Jordan Gysberts), Levi (Greenwood)
before he got into the ones and now Sam Wright. It’s pretty much a North midfield which is awesome playing alongside them each week, as well as the great guys at Werribee.
“I feel I’m starting to play better footy and focus on my consistency. Hopefully I can keep that going for the rest of the year.”
As Werribee prepares for its second Foxtel Cup game against East Fremantle next Tuesday, McGenniss is looking forward to his next challenge – playing on the country’s biggest AFL oval.
“I’ve never played on Patersons Stadium before, the only AFL ground I’ve played on is Etihad in our last Foxtel Cup game.
“I think I like playing on the bigger grounds better because you get to use your run a bit more, but we’ll see how we go and hopefully we come back to Melbourne with a win.”