By Lachlan Mitchell
Get familiar with hearing the name Mitch Szybkowski.
The Dandenong Stingrays midfielder and former Beaconsfield junior has a big role to play this season as he makes his way to the big time.
Szybkowski recently represent the 2022 AFL Academy side as they played Collingwood VFL on Saturday afternoon.
“I was pretty happy with my first half, I thought I competed pretty well and got my hands on the ball,” Szybkowski said.
“In the second-half I went down forward.
“I don’t think I had the same impact as I did in the first half, but it was a really good experience for me to learn how to play at a higher level.
“I think the step-up from NAB league to the VFL standard and learning from the players around me…its fine to make that step-up.
“Learning off the VFL side is important for me and understanding how they are structured in the midfield.
“They are all on the same-page and communicating with each-other.
“I went forward I could see how their defenders communicated and making sure everyone was in the right place.
“Also at the contest they were hard at the footy.“
Mitch will now make his way back to school footy to further develop his skills as he targets the AFL draft later in the year.
“I’ll head back to Caulfield Grammar and continue to play school footy and then in the June school holiday we have the National Championships for Vic Country,” he said.
“After the championships I will make my way back to school footy and make my way back to the Stingrays.”
The 18-year old has an impressive turn of pace and relentless pressure making him the ultimate contested player on the inside.
“Personally I have to work on the first couple of steps out of the stoppage, my speed and around the stoppages and being composed and understanding the situation,“ he said.
“I need to work on being composed and working on playing some consistent football.“
Szybkowski has the ability to play forward as well as being a threat with his ball-wining ability in the centre.
He has been touted as a top-10 selection in the AFL draft.
Szybkowski’s ability to win the ball has seen him be damaging for the opposition, as providing as a goal-scoring threat.
The 186cm midfielder has proven to be a ball-magnet featuring for the Stingrays, averaging 25-disposals this season.
The Stingrays will be back in action on Friday night, when they face the Sandringham Dragons at Shepley Oval.