No turning back for Kreuger

June 25, 2019 8:00 pm in by
Geelong youngster Nathan Krueger in action in the VFL in 2019. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

NATHAN Kreuger never wants to go back to laying telephone cables for a living.

At this rate, he won’t have to.

The young key position player, who turned 20 on Tuesday, is turning heads at VFL level as he strives to break into Geelong’s senior side.

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Krueger – an athletic 196cm and 88kg prospect – is seen by the Cats as a long-term key forward option and has kicked 14 goals in nine games this season.

But an overkill of AFL-listed talls in attack has forced VFL coach Shane O’Bree to use the South Adelaide product at both ends of the ground throughout the year.

The results have been impressive so far.

“The swing role is something that I’m trying to adapt to as fast as I can,” Kreuger said.

“At the end of the day, when you’re in the AFL system, you’ve just got to play a role, and I’m happy to do that.

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“I want to be a one-position player, but I will take things from each position I play in.”

Kreuger represented South Australia at the AFL Under-18 championships in 2017 and was overlooked in his first eligible draft year.

He returned to South Adelaide, put in the hard yards and kicked 22 goals in 13 SANFL games.

It was enough for Kreuger to earn a pre-selection by Carlton, who on-traded him to Geelong last October.

Kreuger is now relishing being part of the full-time football environment, where he hangs off every word of advice offered by the likes of Cats premiership heroes Tom Hawkins, Gary Ablett and Harry Taylor.

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“It’s the best place in the world to be in and best place to come into,” Kreuger said.

“I felt at home straight away, and I’m sure that will continue.

“I don’t want to go back to working at Telstra, so I’m happy in the AFL system, and I’ll continue to progress and upskill myself outside of footy, as well.”

Geelong senior coach Chris Scott is liking what he is seeing, raising Krueger’s name when asked about AFL-listed players showing strong form in the VFL.

“He’s a really mobile key position player, which gives him some options away from his preferred position, which, for us at the moment, is probably as a second (or) third tall forward,” Scott said.

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“But, he’s shown the capacity to play down back because his speed and agility and competitiveness is really strong.

“So there is a very good case to say that with his attributes he’d complement some of the other big guys that we have down in our forward line, certainly not take away our ability to pressure.”

Kreuger was one of 10 players drafted by Geelong last year and admitted it took time for a bunch of the new recruits to figure each other out in VFL ranks.

But things are starting to click.

The Cats have won four of their past five VFL matches ahead of Saturday’s meeting with Northern Blues at Ikon Park.

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“We had to jell pretty quickly,” Kreuger said.

“In the first three or four games, we were just getting to know each other and finding the balance.

“But now we’re starting to actually get a little bit harder on each other in terms of what we want to get out of every session and every game.

“I believe we’re stepping in the right direction.”

Kreuger battled a chest infection last week and had three days off training, but lined up in attack on Saturday and kicked two goals in the 89-point drubbing of bottom side Frankston.

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Twitter: @shayne_hope


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