As a key pillar in one of the competition’s premier defences, 19-year-old forward-turned-backman Harrison Gunther looks right at home.
Harrison Gunther delivered several eye-catching performances as a mobile forward last season for Glenorchy, but is generating significant buzz and excitement at the other end of the ground in 2018.
Slotting alongside Daniel Joseph, Josh Grant and Josh Arnold, Gunther provides the Magpies with an equally adept defensive and offensive option out of the back half, as highlighted in his best afield performance against Launceston on Saturday where he blanketed Jamieson House and Dylan Riley, while also generating drive.
“I have always wanted to play that role so I can swing both ways. Playing more permanently down back has been a challenge but really enjoyable. Having Daniel Joseph back from the NEAFL, as well as Josh Arnold and Josh Grant is working really well,” Gunther said.
“I don’t have a favourite position. It’s been good spending time down back and trying something a bit different after playing a lot of my footy up forward.
“I spoke to PK (Paul Kennedy) when he first came down to the club before this season and he said he liked me down back.
“It’s been a good challenge and I’m still learning my way,” he said.
Adding this extra string to his bow could prove even more fruitful for Gunther, who has his eyes set on a crack at the highest level.
“I’m 100% focused on getting drafted, but that’s hopefully after this year.
“For now, I am focusing on the team and playing my role week by week and that’s all you can do. I don’t listen to the outside noise, I just focus on my role in the team,” Gunther said.
Gunther’s side has had an up and down season to date, but look to be in some good form ahead of the final section of the campaign, partiuclarly with the Magpies conceding an average of just 43 points across the last three weeks.
The Magpies lost four games in a row during May, slumping from a 4-0 start to a 4-4 record after 10 rounds, but have steadied in recent times with another streak of four wins taking the team into the final bye of the season in third place.
Gunther has enjoyed learning under the tutelage of Paul Kennedy this season and believes his influence will hold the group in good stead moving forward.
“PK has been good. He is different to Aaron Cornelius, but the boys really love him and we have really taken on board what he has put in place.
“To lose four in a row earlier in the year, a few people questioned us, but we stuck with what PK has put in front of us and that’s all you can do.
“There are waves in football and we went through a pretty rough patch losing four games in a row but it is good to get back on the winners list. It has come down to working really hard, stripping it back and sticking to the basics.”
Glenorchy will have the bye this weekend before taking on the southern Bombers at Lauderdale Oval in round 16.