Tough Garner shoulders load

Written By Unknown on Kamis, 08 November 2012 | 14.43

The late developer boasts skill as a medium sized forward with great hands, springs in his legs, and agility that allows him to twist and turn out of any situation.

Taylor Garner is shaping as a first-round selection. Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media) Source: Herald Sun

TAYLOR Garner remembers lying on the ground in agony, his left shoulder dislocated after he dived for a mark.

The freakish half-forward was impressing in Vic Country's first match and desperate to not let his left arm, which he first tore last year, ruin his draft chances.

Garner played out the match. Two weeks later he fronted up against Western Australia.

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Again, his shoulder popped out. Again, in a marking contest and again in the second quarter.

Again, Garner battled on.

This time he was Country's best with a trio of goals from 20 touches and six tackles.

s45wg202 TAC Cup football. Oakleigh Chargers (red Blue) V Dandenong Stingrays (yellow) at Warrawee Park, Oakleigh. Oakleigh's Kieran Nolan and Dandenong's Taylor Garner Picture: Josie Hayden Source: Herald Sun

Garner finished the carnival, dislocating his shoulder in every match but downplaying the injury to ensure his place in the side wasn't jeopardised.

He returned to the Dandenong Stingrays for one game where coach Graeme Yeats said he climbed over "a pack of eight blokes and took this speccy'' before hurting his shoulder again and coming clean on the extent of his injuries.

With an All-Australian selection in his pocket and an AFL graduation at month's draft seemingly secured, Garner booked in for reconstructive surgery to prevent his shoulder from further loosening.

"It went every game. It didn't tickle, I definitely felt the pain,'' Garner said.

"It's just that next contest where you're a little bit scared but apart from that (it was) all good,'' Garner said.

Garner's rapid rise onto AFL radars was short but sweet.

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He played TAC Cup for the first time this year, storming into the Round 1 side despite bruising in his knee limiting his pre-season and keeping him out of practice matches.

"We thought he might play Round 4 or 5 for us, but he ended up being almost the first kid we picked in Round 1 on the back of his training,'' Yeats said.

"He's mercurial, but he's got a bit of mongrel in him. When he doesn't have the ball he's an animal.''

Garner wants to develop into a midfielder in the Ryan O'Keefe mould.

S44os895 TAC CUp Footy- Dandy v Western Jets at Shelpley Oval. Pictured is stingrays # 12 Taylor Garner Picture: Loughnan,paul Source: Herald Sun

"I'd just chuck my body in, I'm not afraid to get hurt. I can't see myself being that outside guy and waiting for the ball.''

Three months on from surgery and Garner, who quit year 12 halfway through last year to start a plumbing apprenticeship, is still in rehab but nearly every club has spoken to the flashy utility and expects him to make a full recovery.


AGE: 18
HEIGHT: 186cm
WEIGHT: 77kg
FROM: Dandenong Stingrays
POSITION: Half-forward
IN THE MIX: GWS (14), Cats (16), Freo (17), Pies (18), Dogs (22)


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