AAP AFL

Young Pies star focused despite AFL hype

By AAP Newswire

Jaidyn Stephenson could be forgiven for getting a little bit ahead of himself given the adulation Collingwood fans have heaped upon him.

The media have jumped onboard too as the exciting forward has taken the competition by storm with some breathtaking performances in his debut season.

The 19-year-old has thrilled the black-and-white faithful with his combination of speed, agility, marking strength and ability to find the goals.

The Rising Star favourite, who has played every game this year, took his season goal tally to 21 with another three in Sunday's 20-point win over Carlton.

Quite deservedly, there is a lot of hype around his debut season, but Stephenson has plenty of people in his life who keep him grounded.

"I went back to my family home and spent time with them and my close mates from when I was younger," Stephenson said of the recent bye week.

"It was quite a relaxing time.

"They probably tell me the things I'm doing wrong than what I'm doing right.

"I think I might cop it for that snap along the ground, but I'll take that."

The miscued dribble kick that wandered the wrong side of the goalpost at the MCG was one of the few things he did wrong in another eye-catching display.

Nathan Buckley knows a bit about bursting onto the AFL scene, having won the 1993 Rising Star award.

The Pies coach is intent on bringing the sublimely talented youngster into the game the right way.

"I view Jaidyn the way that I do my sons when I watch them play junior footy ... I'm quite critical," Buckley said.

"I see a lot of their good stuff but I see their margins for improvement.

"What I would say as far as the Rising Star award and his capacity to impact as a first-year player ... there's not many guys who can do what he's doing.

"And he continues to back that up week after week.

"He's still a young player and he's got a lot of growth in him.

"But what he brings is great energy, great intensity, he hits the scoreboard and above all that we love the fact that he plays his role within our structure."