AFL No.1 pick won’t be fully fit until 20
No.1 draft pick Jonathon Patton says it will be 2013 before he reaches full AFL fitness, but is excited about his blossoming forward partnership with Giants colleague Jeremy Cameron.
Patton made a belated debut in round 12 against Richmond after undergoing knee surgery in Sweden early in the year.
The highly-touted young key forward has tallied two goals and seven marks in his two appearances.
Cameron has been the Giants’ most reliable and dangerous forward, kicking 21.5 for the season, with more than twice as many majors as anyone else at the club.
Patton, also 19, has shown glimpses of his undoubted talent, but is battling to run out games given his delayed start to the year.
“It’s going to take a little while to get that AFL fitness,” Patton told AAP.
“Obviously it won’t come this year but, each week, it’s going to keep getting better and better.
“I’m happy with the way I’m presenting up the ground and giving the boys another option, not just always relying on Jeremy, like they had to do a fair bit in the first half of the year.
“I think I’ve been good in that aspect in creating a contest and taking a few marks.
“I’d love to improve more in my defensive running. Obviously it’s a little bit due to my (lack of) fitness.”
Patton sees plenty of potential in his partnership with Cameron.
“I only started training with Jeremy in March, so we haven’t really spent much time together and we’ve only played two games together,” Patton said.
“I think it’s going to take a bit of time but I think we’re both pretty unselfish footballers.
“I understand that he’s going to get the ball sometimes. I think once we play more and more games together and build that chemistry, it’s going to be a pretty good partnership.”
Cameron, who has already won a Rising Star nomination, has welcomed the presence of another big body up forward.
“The first few rounds of the season, I was probably getting the key (defender) back and, now Patto is in, he’s a bigger body than me,” Cameron told AAP.
“Opposition teams are probably looking at him and they are not sure where to put the key back.
“For my game, it’s helped out a lot having him back.”
Cameron’s healthy goal haul has exceeded his pre-season expectations.
“At the start of the year, if I played 10 or so games, I probably just wanted to kick a goal a game – that was a big focus for me,” Cameron said.© AAP 2013
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