Excitement over the player dubbed the next Chris Judd has reached fever pitch ahead of his debut on the Gold Coast on Saturday night but teenager Jaeger O’Meara is unfazed.
Expectations are sky high after O’Meara – who turned 18 on Thursday – received special permission to provide a tantalising taste of things to come in the pre-season AFL competition.
However, Suns coach Guy McKenna has no concerns for O’Meara getting ahead of himself 12 months before he is allowed to play an official AFL game.
“Jaeger’s a flatliner,” he said on Friday.
“There’s not too much excitement in him.
“He gets out there and does what he does, and does it very well – he’s settled.”
His WA-based family are another story, however.
“They’re going to all of a sudden see Jaeger play against some big brutes from Melbourne so it’s going to be confronting but I’m sure he’ll handle himself,” McKenna said.
Indeed McKenna is sure of it after watching O’Meara emerge as one of the Suns’ best in last weekend’s intra-club trial.
“He’s a kid, he’s not playing in the season but I want to expose him like I did with 45 players last year,” he said of the pre-season contest.
“For us our season almost starts right now. The more time Gary Ablett can get alongside David Swallow, Dion Prestia, ruck to Zac Smith… the more we can do that the quicker we’re going to become (a good side).”
The Suns have picked a strong side for the triple-header also featuring the Brisbane Lions and Melbourne but one name has set tongues wagging ahead of this weekend – O’Meara.
After he starred at both the under-16 and under-18 national championships – and kicked four goals on WAFL debut at 17 – the Suns gave up the No.4 pick in the draft to secure the rights to the youngster in October’s mini-draft.
“He’s got freakish natural talent, all around athletic ability, as well as ball winning ability, and evasiveness to get through traffic,” national talent manager Kevin Sheehan told the AFL website.
“It’s very rare. There might be only one every few years as good as that.”