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Hrovat running with his chance

Throughout his junior football career Nathan Hrovat was touted as a classy onballer with strong clearance winning abilities - and after playing two senior games the 19-year-old is yet to disappoint.

Throughout his junior football career Nathan Hrovat was touted as a classy onballer with strong clearance winning abilities - and after playing two senior games the 19-year-old is yet to disappoint.

Combining grunt work in close with explosive bursts on the outside, the first round draftees has also proven to be a threat pushing up into the forward line – kicking a goal in his first quarter of AFL football.

“[Getting an early touch] definitely settled the nerves a little bit more, especially kicking a goal – I guess after that… everything came back down a bit and I was able to just get on with the game,” Hrovat said.

If Hrovat’s average statistics from his first two games are anything to go by, he ranks top ten at the Bulldogs this season in disposal efficiency (9th), clearances (5th), contested possessions (=4th), bounces (1st), tackles (8th) and inside 50s (=9th).

While his next challenge is finding consistency, the ex-Northern Knights captain has had no qualms working his way into each game and exhibiting the qualities that saw him drafted at pick 21 last year.

Drawing on the experience of his older teammates, the 19-year-old is striving to match their example on the training track and game day.

“Moving up I played a little bit on the wing so that’s good, getting that sort of different position and that experience through the midfield,” he said.

“It’s been really good with Dahl (Luke Dahlhaus) and Gia (Daniel Giansiracusa) and those sorts of forwards, being able to just help me through the midfield and then pushing up on the wing with Griff (Ryan Griffen) and a couple other senior boys in there.

“Even at training I run with Gia and Murph (Robert Murphy) a bit and just being able to run with them and see where they run to positions… it’s been really helpful going into games – so just try and learn off them as much as possible.”

Hrovat said his first time travelling with the team in the round ten clash against Port Adelaide in Darwin also confirmed the closeness among the playing group.

“I reckon we are a really strong knit group and obviously there’s a lot of younger players but the bond between the younger and the older is really close,” he said.

“It’s been really good to go away and mingle with the boys and then put up a performance and get the win and come back.

“It is a massive experience and it’s a great experience and just really grateful to be given the opportunity to go up there.”

Given the long weekend to refresh and relax ahead of the second half of the season, Hrovat said he and his young teammates would be better for the break and would return ready to attack Collingwood in round 12.

“It’s good to really just recharge batteries and the boys come into training next week really up and about and fighting fit,” he said.

The Western Bulldogs face an imposing Collingwood outfit on Sunday in the Slater and Gordon sponsored round 12 clash at Etihad Stadium, where Hrovat is hopeful of playing his third senior game.

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