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.