Ayshford finding his feet

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From NRL.com

In Round 15 against NRL powerhouses Melbourne, stand-in skipper Benji Marshall charged across field and barked a stern order into the ear of his young team-mate. The message was clear – “get loud and make your presence felt”.

For Blake Ayshford it was simply another part of the steep learning curve as he gets used to the cauldron of first grade football.

And one that is a long, long way removed from the days where he would challenge Rooster Anthony Cherrington to fierce battles of one-on-one basketball.

Even further from the agonising months he spent recovering from painful surgery to repair his injured right wrist after he “popped it” in one of his very first sessions with the Wests Tigers.

“We were training and Kingi Akoula (now with the Titans) got me and lifted me up as I dummied, and I just put my wrist down (to stop the fall) and it popped,” Ayshford recalls.

“It was killing me but I didn’t want to pull out because we were doing fitness and it was one of my first sessions, but I went and saw doc afterwards and it was bad news.

“I had bone from my right hip put into my left wrist. It was not comfortable.”

But it is all worth it now, because the former Junior Kangaroo’s education has seen him mark up directly against some of the game’s biggest names in an intimidating seven-match apprenticeship thus far in 2009.

“It’s still a thrill every time I come up against someone like [Darren] Lockyer or Stacey [Jones]… I mean, I’m happy with how I’ve gone so far, but it’s not 50 games… you know what I mean?” says the versatile 21-year-old.

“It’s still only seven games next to my name. Like Sheensy says, you’re not a first-grader until you’ve hit that 50-game mark.

“When I played five-eighth against the Storm I was a bit nervous because I didn’t want to boss any of the boys around.

“It started to come easier in the second half against Melbourne when Benji made me talk... I should thank him because he really helped me that game.

“It wasn’t that he stopped talking, but he slowed his talking down and didn’t call every play like he was in the Warriors game. He was asking me to play with the ball and talk a bit more, so it was good for that game, yeah.

“Benj was a big help… he was telling me plays that we could run on and I think it showed, because I enjoyed the second half a lot more.

“It’s a different game when you’re playing five-eighth, because you have to get in there and tell the boys where to go, but the forwards were good – they just asked me what was going on.”

The week before this season-defining match, Ayshford admits he got “stood up” by the magic feet of Eels duo Krisnan Inu and Jarryd Hayne.

After that match, Wests Tigers assistant coach Peter Gentle took the youngster aside and showed him a drill which improves footwork and limits the potential to be wrong-footed.

So now after every training session, Ayshford grabs Beau Ryan or Rhys Hanbury and gets them to run through the drill with him until they are sick of hearing him ask for “one more run”.

But the zippy Ayshford shouldn’t get too comfy in the backs – he’s been ear-marked for a move to the forwards as soon as he fills out his 190cm frame.

“He has good size… he’s a big rangy fella, so he’s quite tall and he can play a number of positions,” says Tim Sheens.

“Depending on how he fills out we can see him possibly ending up in the back row or back at lock, where he has played in the past.

“He’s done a particularly commendable job this year because he’s played most of the season out of position. We saw some of what he is capable of, and his ability to play a utility role, against Melbourne where he had quite a good game.”

All while the learning experience continues.
 

system

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To be really honest he is best suited to 5/8 for mine, he has been throughout his playing days since Paddington.

It would be a real waste to see another ball player into a lock/tackling machine. We have already wasted Fultons ball playing abilities lets not do it to another
 

Geo

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I agree 5/8th's his go…..

Who would have thought we would have to many options in the halves.....go figure...
 

Black_Orange_White

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@Geo. said:
I agree 5/8th's his go…..

Who would have thought we would have to many options in the halves.....go figure...

We have always had options, but Morris was first picked.

How did you get to 100 posts so quickly :eek:pen_mouth:
 

ashman

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I'm sure Ayshford is in the long term plans, I'm still undecided because I am excited by the likes of Moltzen and Lui to Partner Marshall, which would leave Ayshford in the centres…. I agree with others, I'd rather not see him as a lock as we have others who can cover that area even though one of his good points even at his young age is his body seems to handle the NRL, you can tell he still needs the smarts and needs another off season to put on a few kilos and muscle BUT he is hard to put down.. So By next year, physically he probably could play lock But If he can show some zip then centre it should be for now..
 

PYMBLEPETE

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Doesn't seem to have much of a passing game at this stage. I think he is well suited to centre right now.
 

Snowy

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Sheens and fellow players seem to mention his future at lock a fair bit and Ayshford himself?
Maybe thats where he wants to play?
I believe Sheens is doing the right thing with our younger players and by making them play positions they are not comfortable with ( at first ) is a good thing. Thats just my opinion any who.
 

Geo

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@PYMBLEPETE said:
Doesn't seem to have much of a passing game at this stage. I think he is well suited to centre right now.

His passing game is fine….he has been responsible for putting more players in space in 4 games this year than J Mo has for 3 seasons...

Watch the Storm game again....
 

PYMBLEPETE

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@Geo. said:
@PYMBLEPETE said:
Doesn't seem to have much of a passing game at this stage. I think he is well suited to centre right now.

His passing game is fine….he has been responsible for putting more players in space in 4 games this year than J Mo has for 3 seasons...

Watch the Storm game again....

I watched it - he made a good break and put Moltzen away. But in his seven first grade games he just hasn't passed the ball much at all. In fact his first game (Warriors?) I don't recall him passing the ball even once.
 

G_Strombolli

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Whether or not Ayshford - he gets better every game and that has impressed me - is moved to the forwards, it looks like we'll have a few too many halves in the next season or two.
 
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