TURVEY Park product Patrick Voss has been urged by Essendon's senior leaders to show initiative and 'not use being a first year player as an excuse' after beginning training with the Bombers.
The 18-year-old was somewhat unexpectedly taken by Essendon in the rookie draft in late November, and spent three weeks before Christmas getting to know his new teammates in Melbourne.
He grew up watching the likes of Dyson Heppell and Zach Merritt play their trade, but now they're teammates he's been told not to just dip his toe in the water.
"At the start it was a bit weird, it took a bit to get used to after watching them on TV and now they're my teammates. They've been very welcoming," Voss said.
"I spent three weeks down there (training) and now doing an off season program I'm doing most days.
"All the boys are AFL players for a reason, they work very hard and get the best out of themselves. They're professional athletes and they act like it on and off the field. I learnt a fair bit in the first couple of weeks."
"The senior boys set the standard and show us how it's doing, it's good for us younger boys to see how we should be training."
Voss is 193cm and can play in defence, on the ball or in attack, but has spent his first days as a Bomber up forward at training.
Bombers coach Brett Rutten and senior players like Michael Hurley have encouraged him to show initiative and not be afraid to make mistakes on the way.
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"He (Rutten) hasn't really said too much, we obviously haven't played games yet. But he told me when I first got there to be open to learning and working as hard as I possibly can," Voss said.
"He said there's no point waiting or using being a first year player as an excuse, just get straight into it.
"I was playing in the forwards, throughout pre season I think I'll play as a forward and see how that goes.
"It's good to learn my craft off some of the older boys like Michael Hurley and (fellow forward) Peter Wright, who I've been doing a fair bit of work with. I'll look to build on that early next year when I'm back."
The Bombers squeezed into the finals last year but haven't won a post-season match since 2004. Voss is confident they have what it takes to break one of the more infamous droughts in football.
"It's definitely very exciting. It's been a while since they've had much success but we played in finals last year and we're looking to build on that," he said.
"We're looking pretty good for next year. We've got that monkey on the back not winning a final in a while, but if we can play like last year and build on that (we'll be fine)."
Voss need only look at fellow Riverina product Cooper Sharman to know what can happen if he seizes his chance. The Leeton product began 2021 in the SANFL reserves before re-signing with St Kilda for two years after strong late season displays.
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