Roos young gun Thomas can handle AFL hype

Big things are expected of North Melbourne youngster Tarryn Thomas but his focus is on developing his game.

The weight of expectation that comes with being 'the next big thing' at an AFL club can be a burden for a player to carry, but North Melbourne young gun Tarryn Thomas has plenty of help.

Thomas, the eighth overall pick at the 2018 draft, surprised himself by playing 20 senior games in his first AFL season.

He showed enough in those appearances to have Kangaroos fans salivating at the thought of where the silky-skilled forward can take his game.

Thomas is aware of the hype but it's not something that keeps him up at night.

"I'm aware of it but I try not to think about it too much," he said.

"All the boys are really good with helping me with that stuff.

"The biggest thing is that I just want to try to have fun with it and enjoy my footy.

"I feel really comfortable with things ... the boys have really taken me under their wing."

Shaun Higgins was also a talented young forward who came into the game with big raps on him.

He knows how difficult it can be to suddenly find yourself spoken of as a young player with a big future, but says there's no use trying to hide from it.

"I think he's going to be a genuine star," Higgins said.

"Even when he wasn't getting a lot of touches this year what he was doing with the ball was really clean.

"I think when we look back on his career he's going to be one of the greats.

"We just need to make sure that give him time and not get too excited early."

Thomas is thrilled to be part of the same forward line as Ben Brown, who took a special interest in the Tasmanian academy product as soon as he arrived at the club.

"Tarryn is a real prospect ... I'm really excited about him," Brown said.

"He's a great young kid and he's got the footy world ahead of him really.

"His athleticism and some of the things he does with the ball are just things that other guys can't do.

"It's also his work rate off the ball that really impressed me from the moment he joined the club.

"He was doing things on the defensive side that usually take a couple of years to ingrain into young kids.

"That stuff is hard to teach so I'm extremely excited to see what he can do."


AAP