WESTERN Storm defender Mitch Hodgetts is one of the many talented young players benefiting from exposure to senior football at State League level this season.
The 15-year-old, Scotch Oakburn College year 10 student, played at full-back in the state under-16 football team at this year's AFL national championships on the Gold Coast and was one of the state's most consistent performers.
He made his senior TSL debut for the Storm last weekend at North Hobart Oval against Hobart City impressing coach Mitch Hills with his efforts down back.
"I played juniors at Longford and moved to South Launceston to play under 14s and under 16s and then went to the Storm," Hodgetts said.
"I've mainly played in the development league but making my senior debut was a really good experience and I thought I played my role well and met the expectations Mitch Hills put on me.
"I had heaps of nerves before the game but as soon as you get your first touch the nerves go away."
Hodgetts said the national under-16 championships had been a tough challenge playing in the Queensland heat but being part of the state academy system had improved him as a footballer.
"It was good experience though and a taste of what it is like to play at a higher level where it is really fast movement of the ball against some skilful players," he said.
"I used to be a forward but the state academy has changed me into a backman and I'm really enjoying the role."
Hodgetts said he was also enjoying being part of the Western Storm and was hopeful of getting his second senior game today against Burnie.
"It's a good environment with good people and and a good group to be around."