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Kerridge wins Rising Star nomination

Ryan Davidson  May 28, 2013 9:15 AM

Six goal hero is a Rising Star Young Adelaide Crow Sam Kerridge is the round nine NAB AFL Rising Star nominee
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Sam Kerridge celebrates one of his goals against North Melbourne

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THE CATALYST for Adelaide's remarkable 38-point turnaround to win against North Melbourne on Sunday was a 20-year-old playing just his seventh senior game.

Sam Kerridge announced himself to the football world, and to the Kangaroos in particular, with 24 disposals, eight marks and six goals, three of which came in the final quarter as the Crows flew home to win by a solidary point.

His performance has earned the strongly-built midfielder the round nine NAB AFL Rising Star nomination.

"It's right up there with the best games I've played at any level - it was just my day, and to get the nomination was fantastic," Kerridge told AFL.com.au.

"It's definitely an achievement I'll remember."

Kerridge has been used predominantly as a tagger in 2013, and to great effect, limiting the output of stars such as Chris Judd and Ryan Griffen.

Complementing that defensive mindset is elite endurance and an innate ability to sniff out a goal.

"I want to see myself as someone who can play in a number of different positions, but midfield and half-forward is where I play my best footy," he said.

"I'm still working on my kicking and adapting to the speed of the game, so there's a few things I need to work on."

But Adelaide fans need not worry about Kerridge getting carried away with his starring role in Sunday's dramatic win. 

A crucial clash against an in-form Fremantle looms at AAMI Stadium on Saturday and the team's focus has swiftly moved to the challenge ahead. There are also plenty of areas to improve, Kerridge added.  

"We didn't play our best footy at times, to get 30 points down plus against North Melbourne, obviously something's not going right," he said at a media conference on Tuesday. 
 
"For the playing group to really sit back and just have a look at what happened and how we managed to do it was something that was encouraged but also in saying that, starting from today, back at training, we've had our game review and we're really focused on Saturday afternoon.

"[Fremantle is ] a good defensive side and in good form as well."

Coach Brenton Sanderson is impressed with Kerridge's rapid evolution in his second season at the club.

"Sam has taken some significant steps in his development and been a key part of our team in his six senior games this season," Sanderson said.

"He's played a variety of different roles for us, including important defensive jobs on some of the competition's best players.

"He's really relished those challenges and has also been able to hit the scoreboard consistently through his hard running and strong work ethic.

"Sam plays with maturity well beyond his years and is a real leader among our core group of young players."

Riddled with nerves, the Mildura and Bendigo Pioneers product watched from a motel room with his parents as Adelaide selected him with pick 27 in the 2011 NAB AFL Draft.

The Crows' decision call out his name looks to be an inspired choice for all involved, with Kerridge loving life in the City of Churches.

He shares a house with midfield dynamo Patrick Dangerfield and doesn't mind the fact his more senior teammate pulls rank when it comes to chores like cleaning toilets and doing the dishes.

"Danger is quite anal when it comes to the tidiness of his house, but he's been fantastic, he's really helped me on and off the field," Kerridge said.

"It's been great moving over here, all the boys have been great and the club's really looked after me."