Former Geelong Falcons talent manager Michael Turner believes Cobden's Gary Rohan is primed for Saturday's AFL grand final between Geelong and Sydney.
The 31-year-old Cats forward is chasing his first premiership from four attempts, after falling short on three occasions - twice with the Swans (2014 and 2016) and once with the Cats (2020). Rohan's past finals performances had come under scrutiny leading into this season's playoffs.
But a three-goal qualifying-final display over Collingwood and two majors against Brisbane in the preliminary final, had Warrnambool-raised Turner declare Rohan had "got the monkey off his back".
"His final certainly against Collingwood was very good and he followed that up pretty well against Brisbane," Turner said. "I would think that would give him a hell of a lot of confidence going into the grand final knowing the fact he can play well in finals.
"Geelong wouldn't have won that (Collingwood) game without Gary Rohan."
Turner saw firsthand the development of Rohan at the Falcons in his draft year of 2009, before he was taken at pick six by the Swans.
He remembers the Cobden youngster as "a bit of a late developer", whose mum convinced him to trial with the Falcons for a third time, after missing out as a 16 and 17-year-old.
"He came in and did the preseason with us and I remember Gary Hocking our coach was pretty impressed with him because he was a great athlete and super when they did the testing on him," Turner said. "That was re-confirmed after Christmas when we had our practice game at Camperdown. He played really well and made our squad and played great footy, played for Vic Country and played finals with us. The rest is history."
While Rohan was in the Falcons' system, Turner - a 245-gamer with Geelong himself - was well aware of his capabilities.
"When he was with us he was one of the most exciting players I've probably seen at the Falcons in my time in terms of being able to run and bounce the ball and kick those really nice goals," he said.
Another south-west export, Dartmoor's Jeremy Cameron, will play alongside Rohan on Saturday. The decider will be Cameron's second, after playing in the Giants' 2019 loss to Richmond. Cameron joined the Giants as a 17-year-old under-age recruit in 2010 after one season with the Greater Western Victoria Rebels. Phil Partington, who was Rebels talent operation lead at the time, said Cameron's talent was evident immediately.
"Jeremy played a fantastic year as a 17-year-old and was selected as one of the three under-17 players in Australia to be pre-selected by the Giants," he said.
"From there he's gone on and been one of the premier forwards in the AFL, if not the best forward in the AFL at the moment. It's comforting to see how far he's gone with his footy and how he goes about it. But also his off-field side of it too. He's got a fantastic family and it's a great story from where he came from and how he got there."
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