A RICHMOND premiership skipper is providing an Essendon midfielder with inspiration.
Bomber Zach Merrett wants to emulate Tigers’ Brownlow Medallist Trent Cotchin in 2018 and become a scoreboard threat.
The potential Essendon-captain-in-waiting kicked just nine goals from 22 games last season – four of which came in a final-round win over Fremantle.
“I need to impact the scoreboard a bit more and the way Trent Cotchin played in that finals series last year probably highlighted the way a really strong leader of a good club plays,” Cobden-raised Merrett said from the Bombers’ AFL Community Camp in Port Campbell on Monday.
“That is something I need to add – he was super at kicking a goal or two a game and elite mids do that, so it’s something I am certainly aiming to do going forward.
“I am probably moulding my game a bit more on him but to keep my game as consistent as possible is the most important thing.”
Merrett, 22, is entering his fifth AFL season and already has an All-Australian guernsey to his credit.
But the Hampden league export remains an ardent follower of his home league, particularly his club Cobden.
Many of the juniors running around at the Essendon clinic in Port Campbell had ties to his home town.
“Growing up in Cobden I certainly loved watching the seniors play and had a lot of role models with the seniors and reserves,” Merrett said.
“I was someone who went to every training session and stayed around late watching those older guys play.
“To see their kids come through now wearing Essendon number sevens is pretty special to me, knowing that I followed all their dads growing up.”
Merrett, who will visit Cobden schools on Tuesday, expects Cobden to vie for a premiership this season.
“It’s disappointing to lose Brody (Mahoney) to South Australia, Joe (Dare) to a knee and Jahd (Anderson) back at Ocean Grove but I think there’s something growing with the culture there,” he said.
“I think Levi (Dare) is leading them very well and having Daniel Beard as an assistant coach should provide some more consistency around the whole club.”
Older brother Jackson Merrett, 25, is feeling confident after overcoming a broken leg. The 54-game Bomber is taking each season as it comes after spending time in the VFL.
“I am very thankful for the club. You do feel a little bit of pressure but you’ve got to try and put that out of your head and just play footy,” he said.
“You’ve just got to try and have fun and enjoy it. At the end of the day you can just try your best and you’ve got to be happy with that.”