When Cameron Zurhaar needs inspiration, he looks no further than Ben Cunnington.
The West-Australian rookie wants to model his game on the North No.10 and also become a powerful inside player and ball winner.
“Personally I want to get into the midfield and do some bursts in there,” Zurhaar said.
“I look up to Ben Cunnington and the way he plays. Hopefully in a couple of years that could be me.
“Ben is someone I admire. He kills it every single week.”
The 19-year-old impressed in his first 10 VFL outings and was promoted to the senior list, eventually getting a call up to debut against Port Adelaide in Round 17.
“I was definitely overwhelmed and really happy about [playing my first AFL game],” Zurhaar said.
“I think it was on the back of my pressure in the forward line and just being a competitor.”
His best game for the season was against Hawthorn. A late inclusion for skipper Jack Ziebell, Zurhaar finished with 13 disposals and 2 goals.
“Playing your first game is an amazing experience, but kicking your first goal is better,” he said.
“You kick it – and you can’t describe it – everyone gets around you.
“You feel on top of the world and nothing can really stop you.”
His performances earned him a one-year contract extension. At 188cm and 81kg, the mature-bodied forward is keen to improve his skillset.
“Getting my structures right … and also getting my endurance up,” he continued.
“Just being able to play four-quarter footy is really important to me, so that’s what I’ll be emphasizing during the off-season.
“Then it’s about getting stuck into it in Utah and getting my fitness up.
“Playing those four games put me in really good stead and now I know what it takes to get to the next level.
“Hopefully I can get a few more games in next year. I want to have a killer pre-season and take it from there.”