THE father of Joel Selwood says the young Geelong star isn't taking any notice of all the hype he has created in his debut season at Skilled Stadium.
Selwood was described by Geelong coach Mark Thompson
on Triple M radio last Saturday as the best young player to arrive at Skilled Stadium in his tenure
as coach of the Cats, which began in 2000.
And the 19-year-old former Bendigo Pioneer now appears to be in a two-horse race for the prestigious NAB Rising Star award.
According to Sportsbet, Collingwood's Scott Pendlebury is a $2 favourite to win the Rising
Star, with Selwood, who only played three TAC Cup games last year because of a knee injury, closely following as second favourite at the short odds
Behind Selwood, the Kangaroos' Jesse Smith - the son of former Bendigo Diggers coach Ross Smith - is a distant third favourite at $8.
"There is a fair bit of hype about him, but he tends to not take a lot of notice of that sort of
stuff and just focuses on his football," Selwood's father, Bryce, said yesterday.
"He just takes it from week to week and still has a long way to go.
"He isn't reading the papers too much, he just remains focused on the game."
Selwood, who was taken with selection seven at last year's national draft, has played 11 of the Cats' 14 games so far, and has had exactly 200 disposals.
Asked if the six clubs that overlooked Selwood on draft day last year would now be regretting it, AFL talent manager Kevin Sheehan yesterday said:
"Time will tell, but the ones who went before him are all outstanding prospects.
"He is the one though who has probably been as good as any in the first half of the year.
"But we would be surprised if the whole of the top 10 don't end up stars down the track."
With his selection at last year's draft, Selwood joined his older brothers, twins Adam (West Coast)
and Troy (Brisbane Lions), on an AFL list.
"The comparison we give is from 2005, when Joel was not eligible for the draft - he made All-Australian
at the under-18 national championships, and earlier in the year he had captained Australia at under-17
level and won the Barassi Medal playing against Ireland," Sheehan said.
"We rated him the best under-17 player in Australia for all the reasons of the way he won the football, the way he set the play up, and his decision-making was outstanding, as was his leadership.
"He had all those great personal and football qualities, and we talked about him as being similar to a Michael Voss because of his attack on the ball and the way he influenced games."
Meanwhile, the youngest of the Selwood clan, Scott, was yesterday named an All-Australian following
the NAB under-18 national championships.
"Scott had an outstanding game for Victoria Country today - he had 30-plus possessions once he was put into the midfield in what was arguably the biggest game he has played," Sheehan said.
"It was Victoria Country versus Victoria Metro, and he has certainly grown with the experience of playing at the highest level among the best players.
"He showed that he has the potential to join his brothers."