COLLINGWOOD youngster Jaidyn Stephenson has been recognised for his match-winning performance in last Friday night’s 48-point triumph over Adelaide at Adelaide Oval with the round four Rising Star nomination.
Coming off the back of a stellar 2017 under 18 Championship in which he averaged 30.6 possessions and six tackles, including a 28-possession, five-goal effort against for Vic Metro against South Australia, Stephenson capped off an outstanding year with a best-on-ground display in the All Star game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Grand Final day.
Joining Collingwood in the 2017 National Draft with the club’s first selection, sixth overall, Stephenson’s line-breaking ability and class has helped him cement a place in Collingwood’s senior side.
Stephenson may have been snared earlier in the draft had it not been for a genetic heart condition that requires him to take medication three times a day.
The 19-year-old has great sympathy for star defender Dylan Roberton and team mate Kayle Kirby who have both collapsed this season due to irregular heartbeats.
“It’s not good to see,” said Stephenson.
“There’s lot of different heart conditions, so I’m not too sure what they have. I’m confident we are managing mine fine and (I) just hope the other two boys are out there playing footy soon.”
While the hype surrounding the dynamic youngster will only get bigger, Stephenson is keen to just embrace the moment and play his role for the team, a philosophy that has served him so well to this point in his career.
“Travelling over to Adelaide and beating a quality side like them over there was just amazing. To be a contributor is even better,” Stephenson said.
“It’s a childhood dream to run out on the MCG in front of that many people. If I’m lucky enough to get chosen, I’ll just savour the moment and I guess live in the moment and hopefully we get a good result.”
“I just play footy because I enjoy it. I love competing and trying to win, I always keep it pretty light and pretty enjoyable.”