By ADEM SARICAOGLU
JAKE Greiser admits he was pretty chuffed after learning he led the TAC Cup in contested possession and clearances this season.
The 18-year-old Keilor junior was a standout through 17 games for the Western Jets in 2013, establishing himself as one of the TAC Cup’s leading inside midfielders with an ability to win his fair share of the pill.
“Obviously I didn’t come into the season hoping to win those stats, but I was pretty stoked with that result,” a sheepish Greiser told Star.
“Most weeks I got pretty high numbers in contested ball and clearances, so having found out I did win that was pretty good to hear.”
At 88kg, Greiser was already a ready-made and natural footballer in the trenches coming into his final year of under-18 footy.
However, in the hope of hearing his name called by an AFL club come year’s end, Greiser sat down with Jets coach Torin Baker and decided to put an emphasis on improving his outside game.
“We spoke about what I needed to do this year for the team and for myself, and I guess that contested side of my game was already my strength,” Greiser said.
“So it was the uncontested stuff with the uncontested marks, handball receives and spread from contests that was a focus each week.
“Last year I wasn’t getting much uncontested ball – and this year I definitely did have good numbers in contested possessions but in uncontested possession, I guess I improved in most weeks.”
That steady rate of improvement led to Greiser having his most consistent year to date, for which he was rewarded mid-season by gaining selection for Vic Metro in the national under-18 championships.
“This year I thought was a really consistent year for myself,” Greiser said.
“Having to play in the midfield each week at the Jets you have to play well – and overall I had a couple of good games.
“I was pretty stoked to play Metro but having that hamstring injury, I couldn’t play that last game against Vic Country, so that was a bit disappointing.
“But against South Australia I played pretty well with the contested ball and clearances and I did my job, so overall I’m pretty happy with the season.”
Greiser recovered from that hamstring and returned to the Jets, leading them to the finals before gaining an invitation to the state draft combine in early October, where he ran a personal best eight seconds flat in the agility test.
Now all that remains for Greiser is the dreaded waiting game that is the AFL draft period.
“It’s definitely a nerve-wracking time because it’s pretty much out of my control what’s going to happen,” Greiser said.
“So fingers crossed something happens.”