Connor Byrne says defensive efforts as a small forward are crucial to playing his best football.
Byrne, 17, has been enjoying a solid stretch of game time with Koroit and Emmanuel College, before recently taking on the next step of senior grade football.
"As a forward, at Koroit, it's probably not attacking so much as defending," he said of his role. "If the ball comes out too easy, you don't have a chance to kick a goal."
In a dream senior debut for Koroit, the teenager snagged five goals against Cobden in round five before holding his spot against Camperdown last week.
"It was unreal, finally able to play with all the (senior) boys," he said. "My dad Peter won a premiership at Koroit and I've played all my juniors there. It was a big day for the family."
With the skills and speed of the game at another level, the forward is working to get himself acclimated to the next level. "The more I play the more I'll get used to it," he said.
Byrne also hones his craft through the Saints' undefeated under 18.5 team, as well as with Emmanuel College through the School Sport Victoria competition which boasts a familiar leader in Koroit coach Chris McLaren.
"It's been good, two wins and it's been two pretty good games from us as a team," he said of his SSV team.
The next step for Byrne is earning a debut with his NAB League club Greater Western Victoria Rebels. Playing in its under 16 team last year, Byrne is now bottom age in its under 19 program and learning from an experienced coaching panel led by head coach David Loader.
"David's been good, gives pointers when you need them," he said. "How to move the ball quicker, how to stand in a contest and how to set up as a forward."
Byrne hopes to follow in the footsteps of other south-west players to make their debut for the Rebels this year, including Koroit's Jamie Lloyd, Warrnambool's Ethan Boyd, and South Warrnambool's Henry Rhodes and Will White to name a few.
"Everyone wants to get a game, it's what everyone is there for," Byrne said. "I just want to improve my footy to be the best that I can be."
GWV Rebels return for their first game in four weeks on Saturday, hosting Western Jets at Mars Stadium, while Koroit play Port Fairy in the Hampden league on Saturday.
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