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Duursma powers on

POWERING ON: Xavier Duursma puts on the afterburners in Port’s Round 6 clash against North Melbourne. Notching up 24 disposals (12 contested), eight marks, three inside 50s and a goal, his game earned him a Rising Star nomination.

FOR Foster’s football wunderkind Xavier Duursma, there is “home” and there is “home, home”. 
The first is where he lives, the second is where his heart remains.
Going into Port Adelaide’s Round 7 Friday night clash against Collingwood, the Rising Star nominee was looking forward to a weekend spent with family and mates. 
“Home for now is Adelaide, home, home is Foster. Whenever I say home, home that means Foster,” the 18-year-old told The Star. 
“Everyone’s supporting me and that’s great. I love it. It’s good fun.”
Whatever pangs he may have to be back in South Gippsland with family and friends, Xavier is forging an impressive CV playing with the Port Adelaide Power. The club snared a bargain, collecting the young gun with pick 18 in the 2018 draft. In his Round 6 game against North Melbourne, Xavier was named the week’s nomination for the coveted AFL Rising Star award – a gong that recognises the best young talent in the competition.  
He would finish the game with 24 disposals (12 contested), eight marks, three inside 50s and a goal in Port’s 16-point victory over the Kangaroos.
He described the accolade as “amazing”. 
“It’s pretty exciting. It means a lot, considering all the hard work I put in over the pre-season and all the years before that. It’s a lovely award to get, but I’m not finished. I want to keep going and keep improving myself,” he said. 
Xavier ranks number one for Port in most kilometres run this season. While he’s always been a natural runner, a tough pre-season has helped build a seriously good engine.
“For us during pre-season there were three main training sessions a week – Monday, Wednesday and Friday. We get in at 7.30am and leave at about 5.30pm. We did lots of gym and combat work. Tuesday was a half day in the gym. Thursday was a day off,” he said. 
“I expected it to be pretty tough and hard. That’s what you expect in that environment. You never really know how hard it will be until you’re out there. It is pretty difficult.”
A big part of the challenge was putting on muscle, so he could take the kind of hits that are such a feature of AFL footy. 
“I was about 72 kilos when I got drafted. I’m up to about 78 kilos now. I’m pretty happy with that, though I may have a couple more kilos to go.”
Does he have concerns competing against men the size of Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin or man mountain Shane Mumford? 
“I always have my head over the ball and if I have my head over the ball I’ll be protected. Team mates and umpires protect the player who goes the hardest,” he said. 
“It’s not much fun if they smash you, but that’s just part of footy. You have to cop it and get back up and get to the next contest.” 
It’s the kind of attacking style that has helped make his early career such a success, a legacy of growing up playing tough local footy. Another impressive aspect of his game, however his smooth moves on the ground – something for which dance teacher mum Susie takes a great deal of credit. 
Xavier has been dancing since the age of two and though he grumbled about it sometimes, Susie was not willing to hear protests.
“The blind turn comes into play a bit when you’re practising dancing – it does help with footy. If I could encourage more people to do it I would,” he said. 
Proud father Dean said Xavier’s success was “hard work rewarded”. 
“It shows that he’s really comfortable and happy where he is at Port Adelaide. He’s being looked after really well. He’s played eight games in a row and he seems to getting better. Susie and I couldn’t be happier and the kids are really proud of him,” he said. 

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=28662

Posted by on May 14 2019. Filed under Sport. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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