Maishman making waves

Updated: September 1, 2015
Joe Maishman (AFL Media)

Joe Maishman (AFL Media)

THE silver lining to emerge from Werribee’s terrible injury run this season has allowed the Tigers to fast track the development of their young talent.

One of those who’s shown encouraging signs of improvement is on-baller Joe Maishman, who’s made the step up from the Geelong Falcons to the VFL this season.

The 19-year-old has made 12 appearances in the senior team and kicked six goals – but he’s played the last seven games and will be a critical part of the Tigers’ midfield rotation in this Saturday’s second elimination final against Collingwood at Port Melbourne.

Maishman is averaging just under 14 disposals, three marks and five tackles a game and said the step-up from the TAC Cup had been challenging but one he’s embraced.

“My goal at the start of the year was just to get a game of senior footy and I’ve managed to keep my spot in the side,” Maishman said.

“That’s something that I wanted to do is keep my spot. I’ve guess I’ve been lucky, which is unfortunate for the club, that a few boys have gone down with injuries like Jye Bolton, Tom Gribble, Jake Sharp and a few others.

“But I’ve been putting in the extras at training, going through vision with the coaches and it helps your game a lot. I’ve been focusing on my kicking and having confidence in backing my ability and to run with the footy.”

Werribee coach John Lamont is a huge supporter of the Geelong Falcons’ program because he knows the TAC Cup has a track record in developing players ready for senior footy.

Maishman, who is a cousin of Western Bulldogs rising star Mitch Wallis, has impressed Lamont with his willingness to learn and improve every time he’s at Avalon Airport Oval.

“His game still has got a bit to improve at VFL level but he’s brought a bit of speed and running ability,” Lamont said of Maishman.

“He’s got some real speed and he’s got talent as well so he’s going to be a good player.”

Maishman also played two matches for Vic Country during this year’s AFL under-18 national championship which both he and Lamont said was fantastic for his development and his goal of being drafted to an AFL club.

“I’d like to think the future (Geelong) Falcons looking at coming to Werribee will think ‘gee, if you go well like Joe’s done, there’s opportunity to still represent Vic Country’,” Lamont said.

Maishman’s two appearances were against Vic Metro and Western Australia – both at the familiar surrounds of Simonds Stadium – under the new rule that allows 19-year-olds the opportunity to play.

“It was good to go back. The VFL is contested and congested and at under-18 level it was definitely a bit more open,” Maishman said.

“But it was a confidence boost going both ways, from the VFL to under-18’s and then back again.”

Despite a narrow four-point loss to reigning premier Footscray in the last round, the Tigers head into their fifth consecutive finals campaign as one of the form sides of the top eight.

Prior to last Sunday’s result they had won four straight matches against fellow finalists and Maishman said they’ll head into Saturday’s knock-out clash with the Magpies confident.

In their only meeting this season Collingwood triumphed by seven goals at Victoria Park back in Round 9. Maishman missed that game with an abductor injury.

“I’ve never played a senior final before so very excited but nervous at the same time,” Maishman said.

“Hopefully we can get the win and keep our season alive for another week.

“We’ve had really good form coming into finals; we probably could have won last week and we’ll back ourselves and we definitely think we can get the job done.”

Twitter: @GreenBradley

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