I'm not AFL's shortest: Magpies' Blair - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

I'm not AFL's shortest: Magpies' Blair

By Melissa Woods 15/09/2010 11:39:36 AM Comments (0)

Collingwood midfielder Jarryd Blair wants it known he's not the shortest player in the AFL.

"Travis Colyer, against Essendon, personally looking at him I thought I was a bit taller," said the 172cm Blair, who is actually listed as 2cm taller in the AFL season guide.

For the record, Colyer is officially listed at 173cm.

Shortest or not, stature hasn't proved a hindrance to Blair's blossoming AFL career.

The 20-year-old made his senior debut in round 14 and is on track to hold his spot for Friday night's bumper preliminary final against Geelong at the MCG.

"It's pretty exciting, I haven't played Geelong before so it's going to be a big week," Blair said.

Recruited from Gippsland under 18s in the 2008 rookie draft, Blair always dismissed any doubters who thought he would be too small to make it in the AFL.

Thanks to his grandfather, John O'Mahony, who played 112 games for Hawthorn between 1951 and 1960, Blair grew up a Hawks fan idolising the 174cm Shane Crawford.

"Everyone's got their doubters but I've always had belief in myself that I can make it and you just keep attacking and forge your way," the tough and quick onballer said.

"You don't think about size when you're out there, you've just got to play your role.

"It's the way I've played my whole life, I don't think about it too much."

This season he set himself the goal of playing senior footy by round 10, which he just missed, but made an immediate impression in the round 14 win over West Coast, with 16 disposals.

In round 20 against Essendon, returning after being rested for the win over Geelong, Blair was near best on ground, having 28 disposals and kicking two goals in a 98-point win.

"Mick (Malthouse) shows a lot of faith in the younger blokes, you come in and if you play your role you stay in the side," he said.

He didn't feel daunted by the prospect of playing in front of a full MCG, given the crowd pull of a regular Collingwood match, or against the Cats, with their outstanding record in finals.

"Mick said `you think it's normal, playing in front of 60-70,000 people'," said Blair.

"I'm starting to feel pretty comfortable now, first final last weekend and it wasn't too bad a feeling so hopefully I'll have the same this weekend."

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