Western Jets young gun Cameron Rayner might have forced some alterations to long range AFL mock draft boards at the weekend.
After his two dynamic performances for the Jets to open the TAC Cup season, Rayner took his game up another level and excelled in the AFL Academy’s 20th anniversary game at the MCG on Sunday.
Playing for the Team Daniher side, which beat Team Weitering by 46 points in a one-sided contest, Rayner was awarded the medal for best-on-ground.
Rayner kicked three goals and had 23 disposals in a brilliant display.
Making the performance all the more impressive, the 18-year-old went into the match under an injury cloud.
Jets coach and AFL Academy assistant Torin Baker said Rayner went into the game after splitting open a toe, so probably wasn’t at 100 per cent.
“To produce that sort of performance was excellent,” Baker said. “He went forward and converted really well and was also a good clearance player.”
Rayner was one of three Western Jets players involved in the game, with highly-rated Lachlan Fogarty and developing player Buku Khamis also featuring.
Khamis, one of 15 bottom-age players invited to play in the game, took one of the most unique pathways to get there.
A refugee from South Sudan, Khamis moved to Australia with his mum and brothers aged six and was a latecomer to the sport.
Each time Khamis sets foot on a football field for the Jets, he does something special.
“Every game, he just keeps showing what he can do for a couple of moments,” Baker said. “He’s not having a huge output in the whole of games yet, but he continues to learn new tricks as a high forward.”
Khamis kicked a goal for Team Weitering.
Baker reckons exposure to elite players in the AFL Academy and listening to and learning from top coaches at the academy and Maribyrnong Sports Academy will stand him in good stead.
“To play against good players and even do the training, he’ll benefit from it enormously,” Baker said.
“He’s become a really professional athlete with the way he goes about things.
“He’s in the sports academy at Maribyrnong and he’s also in the AFL Academy, so he’s getting really good exposure to good habits.”