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SANFL: Confidence and development for Knight

Kirralee Thomas  April 14, 2018 11:24 PM

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 6: Riley Knight of the Crows poses for a photograph during the Adelaide Crows 2018 official team photo day at AAMI Stadium on March 6, 2018 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 6: Riley Knight of the Crows poses for a photograph during the Adelaide Crows 2018 official team photo day at AAMI Stadium on March 6, 2018 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)

I’m trying to help the young guys out here in the SANFL with a bit more leadership and experience at times.

Riley Knight has been using his time in the SANFL to regain confidence in his body and develop his leadership skills.

After undergoing minor ankle surgery in the offseason, Knight played his first game of the year last week in Round Two of the SANFL.

In Saturday's 20-point loss to South Adelaide, Knight had a team-high 25 disposals, nine contested, seven tackles and four clearances.

Playing almost a full game in only his second match back pleased Knight.

“I am just building some consistency again, I got a few more minutes today and almost played a full game which was good,” Knight said.

“It just gives me confidence in my body that I’m back at the level again and getting some continuity back with my footy.

“Obviously, you don’t like to miss games, so it’s good to be back and playing some footy again.”

While the “big picture” of playing at AFL level is always in mind, Knight is enjoying his time in the SANFL, and the chance it’s giving him to develop more skills.

“I’m trying to help the young guys out here in the SANFL with a bit more leadership and experience at times,” Knight said.

“Whilst I haven’t been playing AFL, I feel like my game and leadership is going to another level which is good.

“It’s always the bigger picture to get back to AFL, but at this point of time it’s just about taking every week as it comes, and I know that’s a cliché but it’s what you have to focus on otherwise you get too far ahead.”

Knight singled out fellow young midfielders Matthew Signorello and Ben Jarman as two of his teammates he has been paying a lot of attention to.

“’Sig’ and Jarman I’ve been working with a little bit, just out on the field with direction and trying to reiterate the confidence to bring what they were drafted for and really use it in games,” Knight said.

“They are both really talented kids, they both give 100 per cent every time they step out on the ground, so it’s good to start seeing them get reward for effort and the preseason they’ve both had.

“It would be good to see them keep progressing the way they are, and hopefully put their hand up for AFL contention soon.”

As for the Round Three game, Knight echoed coach Ryan O’Keefe’s comments about the match being a missed opportunity for the SANFL Crows.

“It’s a bit disappointing, we probably cost ourselves in the end with some basic fundamentals,” he said.

“We moved the ball really well considering the conditions, and the boys effort and intensity was at the level, we just made some mistakes at the wrong time with the ball, which costs us.

“But it’s another good learning experience, the boys are developing every week and we aren’t far away from a win which is good.”