With Josh Kennedy

Guardian Express - - SPORT -

NORTH Perth’s Jerome Ia­coni (16) has his sights set on a long ca­reer in ten­nis.

The ris­ing star, who is a mem­ber of Alexan­der Park Ten­nis Club, this year fol­lowed in Aus­tralian pro­fes­sional player Nick Kyr­gios’ foot­steps when he com­peted in the Pizzey Cup in Bris­bane.

Kyr­gios played in the tour­na­ment in 2007.

Jerome was also awarded a place on the All-Aus­tralian team at­tend­ing the Aus­tralian Open in 2019.

In June, Jerome reached the quar­ter-fi­nals in sin­gles and dou­bles at the NT Open Cham­pi­onships in Dar­win.

Cur­rently the num­ber 1 16-year-old in WA and num­ber 3 na­tion­ally, Jerome is on track to achieve his goal of qual­i­fy­ing for the Aus­tralian Open Ju­niors in Jan­uary next year.

He said he started play­ing ten­nis when he was eight years old, tak­ing af­ter his dad and grand­fa­ther be­fore him.

“I just did it for fun at first, but I loved it,” he said.

He played other sports in­clud­ing foot­ball, in­door soc­cer and hockey, but de­cided to fo­cus on ten­nis.

“When I was 14 I started to train more in ten­nis and when I played, I got bet­ter re­sults,” he said.

“I want to go as far as I can (with ten­nis).” THE char­ac­ter of the West Coast Ea­gles is some­thing we take great pride in and that fil­ters through in the at­ti­tude that when one man goes down, an­other steps up.

While for three weeks af­ter the bye we did not pro­duce our best foot­ball, it was usu­ally a bad quar­ter here or there that was costly.

So com­ing up against a qual­ity team like GWS on Sun­day was go­ing to be an im­por­tant as­sign­ment.

The Gi­ants had won four games in a row and boast one of the best mid­field units in the game.

Like us, they were miss­ing a few key play­ers up for­ward, with Jeremy Cameron, Toby Greene and Jon Pat­ton all ab­sent, so the mid­field bat­tle was even more im­por­tant than nor­mal. But our guys re­ally stepped up.

With Nic Nai­tanui set­ting the stan­dard around the stop­pages with 41 hitouts – not to men­tion a cou­ple of big hangs (pic­tured) – we got first use of the ball and that set us up for a win.

An­drew Gaff, Jack Red­den, Luke Shuey and El­liot Yeo all got plenty of ball and created op­por­tu­ni­ties for a for­ward line that was led by Jamie Cripps.

Hope­fully, we get a few se­nior play­ers back next week­end be­cause the chal­lenges keep com­ing.

We face Colling­wood at the MCG next Sun­day.

The rea­son you play is to be in­volved in matches like this, so we are re­ally look­ing for­ward to the op­por­tu­nity of tak­ing them on at the home of footy.

This is our sec­ond game of the sea­son at the ’G and like Jack Dar­ling, Tom Bar­rass and Mark LeCras, I’ll be do­ing ev­ery­thing I can to be out there.

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