ARARAT Rats' senior footballer Cooper Heard has been learning how to maneuver in the mid-field this season.
Heard has been with the Wimmera League club since his junior days and the 179 cm player often plays the forward line, but 2019 has brought some new opportunities for him.
"I've been learning how to come up against bigger bodies and stuff like that," Heard said.
"It's been a bit challenging, but a good challenge.
"I've been really enjoying it. I'm getting a lot more confidence, which has been good."
This is his third season playing for the senior team and, after a quadriceps tear in 2018, he is in good form.
"Last year I missed six weeks, but apart from that it's all been pretty smooth," Heard said.
"I'm starting to get to know a lot of the boys a bit more and it's been a really good time.
"We've had a lot of success so far too so hopefully it keeps going."
Heard has kicked eight goals for the team this season and said the Rats needed to focus on a couple of things heading into the second half of the season.
"I think we've been working on playing a real attacking style of game, so we can score quickly and use our run, which is important on our own home ground," he said.
"It can really hurt some teams. We've got a lot fitter too - we've just been building on our tanks a bit which has been good.
"I'm probably going to try and keep improving and better my game too. I'm just building on my confidence at the moment and it's going well. We don't want to get too ahead of ourselves though."
When not playing football, Heard is busy with his year 12 studies and said he wants to study a landscaping apprenticeship in 2020.
His studies could take him to Geelong, but he said he already intends to do the commute so he can keep playing with the Rats.
"I wouldn't go anywhere else around this area," he said. "It just depends on what happens after school. I might need to go to Geelong, so I might need to travel back."
The Rats will play Dimboola next weekend at Dimboola for Round 12 and Heard is hoping for a repeat of round 11.
"The competition has really evened up, so we've just got to start well and put a bit of scoreboard pressure on, and hopefully just play to our strengths," he said.
"We were pretty happy with that (Nhill effort). That's exactly what we want to do - come out strong and hopefully just hold it for the four quarters."
The Rats are sitting second on the ladder below Minyip-Murtoa with a percentage of 157.4, while Dimboola is ninth with 58.27 per cent.
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