Andrew Gaff praises AFL sub role - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Andrew Gaff praises AFL sub role

By Justin Chadwick 02/08/2011 06:40:49 PM Comments (0)

West Coast midfielder Andrew Gaff admits his early stint as the club's designated sub has helped him achieve a rich vein of form at the business end of the AFL season.

Gaff, snared with pick No.4 in last year's national draft, was the Eagles' sub in five of the first six games of the season before he returned to WAFL ranks to build up his match fitness.

The 19-year-old has been a key contributor since his return to senior ranks in round 17, with his 31 disposals, eight marks and two goals in last week's win over the Bulldogs earning him the round 19 Rising Star nomination.

Gaff said although he would have loved more game time during the early rounds of the year, the tactic to use him in the latter parts of games had proven to be a masterstroke.

"I think playing the first few games as a sub probably has really helped me in the later run this year," Gaff said on Tuesday.

"I've been able to run out full games whereas some guys might not be able to in their first year.

"At the time (of playing as the sub) you want to play full games and you want to play 90 per cent of the game each week but, with my body being pretty light, I probably wasn't able to handle that early on.

"After my stint as the sub, I had to go back to the WAFL and get some match practice there, so it's just been a week by week thing and I guess it's helping me in the latter rounds of the season."

Gaff became the third West Coast player to be nominated for the Rising Star award this year after Luke Shuey and Jack Darling impressed the judges earlier in the season.

West Coast coach John Worsfold praised Gaff's quick development.

"Andrew has the attributes to be part of the building of a powerful West Coast line-up to help us achieve another run of sustained success," Worsfold said.

"He has the right blend of talent and an appetite for the work required to be a top-line AFL player."

Gaff, who played his junior football in Melbourne with the Kew Comets and the Oakleigh Chargers, said he was lucky to arrive at West Coast just in time for their resurgence, with the club on track for a top-four finish just a year after collecting the wooden spoon.

"I'm very blessed that all the senior players are back, fit and firing, and really looking forward to September and hopefully seeing how far we can go from there," Gaff said.

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