TEENAGER Riley Alexander says Hamilton Kangaroos' decision to hand him a debut in a crucial clash has instilled confidence.
The Hamilton Alexandra College student, 16, will play with fellow first-gamer Cameron Whyte against top-placed North Warrnambool Eagles at Melville Oval on Saturday.
"I am pretty excited. It's a pretty big game for us as a club," he said.
"It instils confidence in me so hopefully I can give my best and play a role that's needed."
Alexander plays midfield-forward for the Roos' under 18 side but expects to play predominantly in attack for the Matt Dunn-led senior team.
"I am not very tall so I will try and get to the front of packs and crumb and I regard myself as a handy set shot so if I get a chance, I will back myself in," he said.
The multi-talented teenager, who wants to study sports journalism, is one of College Cricket Club's emerging A grade players.
Alexander said he was a batsman who dabbled in off-spin bowling. He has captured the attention of Western Waves' selectors.
He's played at the state championships twice, at under 16 and under 14 levels, and is part of the 2020 under 18 training squad.
"I used to play basketball but gave it up to focus on a summer and winter sport," Alexander said.
"Cricket is probably my number one sport."
Whyte, 24, will play alongside his older brother James.
"We both ruck but I think he'll be starting back and I'll probably be forward," he said.
"I like to think I play (when I am in the ruck) like an onball-type role - not too big, not too slow."
Whyte, who works on his family's sheep farm at Branxholme, said he had knuckled down at training in latter stages of the season.
"I'd been cruising along, training once a week and playing in the twos," he said.
"The last couple of weeks I've stepped it up a bit and aimed for a senior game.
"I am enjoying my footy like I used to."
The Roos will know what to expect when they face former AFL midfielder Michael Barlow the second time around.
The ex-Docker and Suns footballer will play his second Hampden league match against the same side he debuted against in round eight.
Barlow, whose VFL team Werribee has the bye, was one of two AFL-calibre additions the Eagles' side. The other was Billie Smedts.
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