ARARAT'S Luke Spalding said his debut with the Greater Western Victoria Rebels has already given him "serious football insight".
The Ararat under-17s footballer played for the NAB League team against the Bendigo Pioneers on Sunday.
The final score was Rebels 13.11 (89) to the Pioneers' 13.7 (85).
Spalding played in the forward line.
"It was a little bit new to me - I normally play in the back line," he said.
"It was a good experience to learn a different craft. It was stronger bodies, faster, fitter and completely different to what I'm used to.
"It made me put into perspective that you need to work harder to play the best football you can, and do the actual work."
There will be opportunities to put that learning into practice as the season progresses.
"It was just my first game so I'm just looking to improve," Spalding said.
He trains twice a week - once with the Rats and once with the Rebels, and said he was in good form.
"I've come back from a groin injury this year, which I've had a few check-ups for and tried a few different things to get back, and now I am back and able to play again," he said.
Spalding comes across as very focused, and said his aim was to play at the highest level he could.
"(I) just want to play as good a football as I can for as long as I can," he said.
Spalding said he looked up to a couple of AFL players including the Saints' Nick Riewoldt, and former Rat Tom Williamson.
"(It's) Nick Riewoldt's work ethic and his desire to do better, and Tom Williamson, who got drafted a few years ago from Ararat," Spalding said.
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