NEW North Ballarat Rebel Liam Howarth set personal bests on the training track during pre-season.
The South Warrnambool teenager’s aim was to make a TAC Cup list as a bottom-age prospect and scintillating times helped stake his claim.
Howarth ran a 2.98-second 20-metre sprint — anything under three seconds is considered quick — and now finds himself pushing for a round one Rebels’ debut.
“I went to WA to see my dad because he lives there and I trained there for a couple of weeks and that helped with my match fitness,” he said.
“I came back and did a personal best in the three-kilometre (time trial) and 20m sprint.
“It is a big achievement for me to make it as a bottom-ager because it is a pretty good list this year compared to last year.”
The Brisbane Lions supporter pays close attention to south-west AFL graduates Martin Gleeson and Louis Herbert.
That pair played for North Ballarat Rebels before being picked up by Essendon and Gold Coast respectively.
Howarth, like most teenage footballers, dreams of joining his mates at the elite level.
“Obviously I’d like to get drafted. But the steps before that come into play, like playing for state,” he said.
“I will set goals and hopefully make them.
“I love the game. I started playing in Queensland when I was really young when I lived with my family up there.”
Howarth, one of nine Hampden league players on the Rebels’ 48-player list, started at Ballarat’s St Patrick’s College this year.
He will train regularly with the Rebels at their Ballarat base. Howarth was offered a spot on North Ballarat City’s list but opted to keep South Warrnambool as his home base this season.
The 182-centimetre midfielder made his senior debut for the Roosters last year and went on to play 11 games. Howarth said the experience of playing with and against mature bodies would help him adjust to TAC Cup competition.
He paid particular credit to Danny Finn and Kym Eagleson. “They taught me a lot, not just on the ground but at training as well,” Howarth said.
“Danny taught me the ins and outs of playing midfield.”
Howarth said the Rebels’ staff liked his aggression at the footy and ability to run the footy off half-back and through the midfield.