At just 17 years of age, Mangoplah schoolboy George Kendall is not afraid of big jobs.
Kendall has only played 16 games of senior football but has already developed a reputation as Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes’ go-to man in times of need.
He was thrown onto Ganmain’s Riley Corbett mid-game a fortnight ago, and has gone head-to-head with some of the best forwards in the competition.
The prospect of lining up on some of the best players in the competition might be daunting for most teenagers, but Kendall thrives on the big jobs.
“Bloody oath. It’s a bit of a challenge,” Kendall said.
Kendall’s rapid rise over the past 12 months has not gone unnoticed.
He was invited to join the Giants Academy this season and that has resulted in him playing a handful of representative games, plus one NEAFL clash with the Giants reserves.
“I got put into it this year and it’s been pretty exciting,” he said.
“I’ve played one game in the NEAFL and two with the Rams. It’s been good.”
Football has always been a passion for Kendall but it almost played second fiddle to his hockey career.
Kendall was a state representative at hockey but gave it away a couple of years back to focus on football.
“I lost the love for hockey,” he said.
“Footy has a better team culture. With hockey you would go and play then leave.”
It was a good decision as Kendall is now one of the most promising key position prospects in the region.
He has been used by MCUE coach Travis Cohalan at either end of the ground but concedes he does prefer defence.
“I prefer the backline but if Trav puts me forward, I don’t mind it,” he said.
“I feel like I can help the team a bit more in the backline.”
The Kooringal High School year 12 student is set for another big job when MCUE host old rivals Collingullie-Glenfield Park at Mangoplah Sportsground on Saturday.
Kendall got the job on Collingullie-GP coach Luke Gestier last time the two teams met, and is likely to go to him, or full-forward Marc Geppert, on Saturday.
The Demons won their last encounter by 32 points but Kendall is confident the third-placed Goannas can topple second-placed Collingullie-GP this time.
“I feel like if we come together as a team then we can get over the line,” he said.
“I definitely feel like we can beat them.”
Saturday is also Past Players Day for MCUE and the club will host gatherings for the 1988, 1993 and 2008 (reserve grade) premiership teams.