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NAB AFL Rising Star: Rd 9

EXPERIENCING a win in Andrew McLeod’s record-breaking 313th game for Adelaide was a highlight in itself for Andy Otten.

And to earn the NAB AFL Rising Star nomination for round nine has just topped it off for the young Crow, who is 302 games behind McLeod.

“It was definitely a good win for the team. We had our backs against the wall with three losses in a row. We really wanted to come out for Andrew as well,” Otten said.

“We were pretty pumped before the game to get off to a good start. Once we did that everything fell into place for us. Our instructions were right and it was a great win to be a part of.”

Otten was more than just a part of the win over Carlton, he was a key factor, gathering 23 disposals and kicking a goal.

It was the latest impressive performance in a season that has seen him play every senior game after getting a taste with two games last year.

He says his brief experience of AFL action last year taught him plenty about the elite level.

“Fitness was one of the things I worked on over summer and learning the pace of the game. I had to train at the same pace as the game. The training intensity and skills, I had to work on that as well.”

Otten is a keen student of the game and is learning all he can off one of Adelaide’s greats in McLeod.

“He looks after me in the locker rooms. I see him every day and we always have a chat to each other,” Otten said.

“He is really good to me, especially this year when he is playing down the backline where he has played a lot. On the track as well, he is usually pretty quiet but he will single out players and gives a lot of advice when we need it.”

After living with a host family last year, Otten is now sharing a house with teammate David MacKay and says he loves living in the city of churches.

“It helps that we’re both in the same house. It’s a big country town and it is very easy to get around. We’ve got a lot of places to go now and we’re pretty comfortable over here,” he said.

Otten said he loves the fact that Adelaide is such a football-mad town.

“There is a lot of hype around Adelaide and Port Adelaide, especially in the Showdowns. It is such a footy-driven state, which is fantastic for the supporters.”