West Coast great and Western Australia under-18 coach Peter Sumich has seen a great deal of improvement in round 21 Rising Star nominee Oscar Allen. Sumich details the frank conversation he had with Allen prior to the carnival in 2017, where his improvement has come from and what to expect from the 20-year-old in September.
Oscar was playing some good footy at Colts level in the WAFL at the start of 2017, but he had been thrown around a lot and as coach of the West Australian under-18 state team I thought it was best that we settle him down in one position.
So I sat him down and said, ‘Look mate you’re going to play full forward and a little bit at centre half-forward and that’s it.’
We knew he could play down back and up forward and even on-ball if he wanted, but having him in a set position was going to benefit him greatly.
That was Oscar’s best chance to prove his worth in getting drafted and he took that on board and the rest is history really. He had an outstanding carnival, kicking 11 goals and co-captaining our team to three wins from four games. Not to mention that he won the Larke Medal.
He’s that type of player that really wanted to prove himself and he fought through all adversity through the carnival. He was one of our outstanding leaders and I see him as being in the leadership group at West Coast one day and maybe a vice-captain or even captain of the Eagles. That’s how highly I rate him in that area.
I always thought he’d be an early bloomer and play early because of his size and attitude and he’s done that.
It was always going to be hard to fit into that West Coast side, especially coming off a premiership win last year, but he’s been able to do it because of his determination to win.
Oscar’s a very level-headed kid so I don’t think he’ll get carried away by the Rising Star nomination or his three-goal haul against Adelaide last weekend and he’ll be concentrating on the next task at hand.
The Eagles play Richmond at the MCG this weekend which is a magnificent game for him to play in and experience that finals-like atmosphere before September.
The flexibility that Oscar can provide will be crucial for the Eagles in the finals because you’re only one injury away from putting pressure on the side. But if you’ve got a guy like Oscar who can up forward, down back or even go into the ruck as he’s done a bit lately, I think he’ll be worth his weight in gold.
Oscar’s a competitor and he likes to win so that mentality will serve him well come September.
AFL RISING STAR NOMINEES IN 2019
Round 13 – Dylan Clarke (Essendon)
Round 17 – Shai Bolton (Richmond)
Round 21 – Oscar Allen (West Coast Eagles)