Sheringham happy to plunge into deep end
March 18, 2013 8:46 AM
Jackson Sheringham played five matches for Geelong last season
JACKSON Sheringham’s five games for Geelong last season included blockbuster clashes with Collingwood, Hawthorn and West Coast.
As a result, the 24-year-old rookie, who is expected to be promoted to the club’s senior list in the lead-up to round one, is undaunted by the prospect of lining up against the Hawks on Easter Monday. “Having had a taste of it last year, I feel that I can definitely play at that level now,” Sheringham told AFL.com.au. Geelong’s decision to move ruckman Dawson Simpson (back), midfielder Josh Cowan (Achilles) and small forward Lincoln McCarthy (foot) to its long-term injury list has opened the door for Sheringham to gain promotion to the senior list.
“I’ve been doing everything I can during the pre-season to be ready if the opportunity does arise,” he said. “If I get the opportunity, I feel I’m ready to step up and make the most of it.” Sheringham is a born and bred Geelong boy.
Like superstar Jimmy Bartel, he came to the Cats from local club Bell Park, but whereas Bartel was drafted by Geelong as a teenager, Sheringham had to wait until his early 20s to get his chance. Taken by the Cats with pick 36 in the 2012 NAB AFL Rookie Draft, he was 24 by the time he made his AFL debut against Collingwood in round 16 last year. He booted a goal in his first game and was particularly impressive against Adelaide two weeks later, gathering 20 possessions and laying five tackles.
“All of my games last year were pretty big, so it was certainly a good learning experience for me,” Sheringham said. Over the summer, he spent time working closely with two of his most decorated teammates, Bartel and Paul Chapman, impressing both with his work ethic, toughness and skill. In an interview with CatsTV, Chapman recently nominated Sheringham as the emerging player most likely to have a breakout year.
“Love the way he’s training,” Chapman said. “He’s hard at it and uses the ball really well.” Sheringham was a solid performer in Geelong’s last pre-season match against Collingwood at Simonds Stadium on Friday evening. Before that, he picked up six touches against West Coast in round one of the NAB Cup and finished with 10 possessions against North Melbourne in round three.
If he does manage to squeeze his way into the Cats’ side for their home and away season opener, Sheringham has been earmarked to play a line-breaking half-back role. “I’ve definitely being doing a lot more work down back this pre-season,” he said. “It’s mainly been to widen that door for me, as it gives me another avenue to find my way into the team.
“You’ve got to be ready for whatever opportunity arises, whether it’s a spot in the backline or up on the wing or at half-forward. “But I’ve definitely enjoyed playing in the backline over the pre-season, so if a spot does open up down there I’ll be more than happy to take it.” Jackson Sheringham is a midfielder in AFL Fantasy.
Adam McNicol covers Geelong news for AFL.com.au.
Follow him on Twitter at @AFL_AdamMcNicol