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Neade wins Rising Star nod

Power prodigy a Rising Star Port Adelaide's Jack Neade is the round 13 Rising Star
Matthew Broadbent and Jake Neade of Port celebrate victory during the 2013 AFL Round 13 match between Port Adelaide Power and the Sydney Swans at AAMI Stadium, Adelaide on June 22, 2013. (Photo: AFL Media)
Jake Neade celebrates Port Adelaide's triumph over the Swans with Matthew Broadbent

REVERED author Mark Twain once wrote, "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog."

The quote epitomises the story of young Port Adelaide forward Jake Neade. 

Many thought he might be too small to make it in the AFL due to his jockey-like height and weight.

Standing at 168cm and weighing 68kg, Neade is the shortest player in the competition and isn't far off the dimensions required for a mount in the Melbourne Cup.

But just half way through his debut season he's proven the doubters wrong, and  been rewarded with the round 13 NAB AFL Rising Star nomination.

"I reckon footy comes down to effort and what you bring to the table," Neade told AFL.com.au.

"I'm very thankful to receive the nomination. but I'll keep doing the things I'm good at and I'll work on the things I need to improve on."

Neade has bought an infectious attitude to Alberton.

His running, chasing, pressuring and tackling have been a hallmark of the Power's improved performances this year.

Coach Ken Hinkley is an ardent admirer of the consistency that's seen him play all but one of Port's games this year. 

"The thing we love about Jake is that he is never intimidated by the size of the opposition and that is important given his small physical stature," he said.  

"He enjoys the contested style of the game in that he loves tackling, loves chasing and loves doing all the things that we value so highly here at Port Adelaide. 

"And when he does have the ball he uses it very well. 

"Being a first-year player Jake has plenty of footy ahead of him. 

"He knows that he needs to work as hard as possible to continually improve his game to give himself the best opportunity to have a great career."

That footballing journey began back in Elliott, a remote town almost half way between Alice Springs and Darwin.

But by the age of 13 he was boarding in the Red Centre before prestigious St Patrick's College of Ballarat called.

There he was part of an extremely successful team that featured good mate and now cross-town rival, Adelaide's Brad Crouch.

"We're still best of mates Crouchy and I; we send a few messages here and there," he said.

"We haven't played against each other so I look forward to facing him in the next Showdown."

But for now he's concentrating on keeping his place in a steadily improving Power outfit.

"I need to work on my strength and my movement around the ground," Neade said.

"I'm pretty happy up forward for now but I can see myself playing on the wing or in the midfield, where ever the coach wants really."