Representing your state in any competition is always a major honour, and Claremont youngster Jake Patmore used the U18 Championships as the perfect platform to produce a scintillating second half to his 2017 season.
Patmore was a very solid contributor for WA in the carnival, averaging 23 possessions in four games, including an outstanding best on ground performance against Vic Country where he collected 32 possessions and six tackles in a 29 point victory.
He started his Colts career as a running half back flanker, before successfully transitioning into the midfield where he became a ball magnet for the Tigers as they looked to make it three Colts premierships in a row.
In his first game back for his WAFL side, the 18-year-old was superb with 39 possessions and eight marks against South Fremantle and he backed that up the following week with 42 possessions, seven inside 50s and five marks.
His personal best came against Swan Districts a week before the finals when he accumulated a staggering 48 possessions, nine inside 50s and six tackles.
Patmore said the experience with the state team was one which really set the momentum rolling in his favour.
“The big thing for me was playing well in the last game of the championships, playing the way I wanted to with my run and carry.
“That built my confidence and carried through to the next part of the of the Colts season where I had quite a lot of the ball,” he said.
After playing every game of the 2016 championships, Patmore thrived on the responsibility of making the younger members really feel part of the squad this year.
“Having that experience, I was able to be a role model for the younger members of the squad and it was also the same in colts, being that kind of person that others look up to was definitely a big thing for me,” he said.
WA’s impressive performance in the Championships pleasantly surprised observers on both sides of the Nullarbor, and Patmore said that his own strong form was a lot to do with the advice of the head coach.
“Peter Sumich was awesome for me. He was one of the people who came up to me at the start of the year and helped me see that I needed to put heaps of work in to get to the next level.”
Patmore lost a number of kilos in the offseason due in large part to the honest advice of Sumich who mentioned that by getting into better physical shape it would help him as a footballer.
While his performance levels have been evident for all to see, the overall improvement in his fitness has also had a big impact.
“Losing the weight that I did at the start of the season has helped with injury prevention.
“Once I lost the weight, I started playing a lot better footy and now the next step for me is to add more pure muscle to my frame,” he said.
Like many kids, football was not the only sport that Jake played as a youngster, as he played Hockey from a young age.
” My dad was a hockey player for Australia (Jake’s father Nigel took part in the 1984 Olympic Games), so I followed in his footsteps a little bit, but I didn’t quite as enjoy it as much as Footy so gave that up pretty quickly.” he said.
Patmore was born in the beach resort town of Broome in the Kimberly region of WA, but did the majority of his schooling in Perth and began his Tigers career in the development squad at the U14s level.
The midfielder said he has had a lot of great guidance along the way.
“It’s been amazing (at the Tigers), I’ve had really good people to learn from like (midfield coach) Mark Paris who has been with me for my whole junior footy career up to the colts level.
” So its been awesome having him guide me and work with me along with (head coach) Ross McQueen and (Talent development officer) Warren Parker as well.”
Claremont fell one game short of a completing a hat-trick of premierships at the Colts level when they lost to East Fremantle in the 2017 decider.
Despite the loss, Patmore saw the season as a major success.
“I think we did really well, especially as we probably didn’t have the same amount of talent as we did in previous years.
“I think we played really good footy, and kind of clicked towards the end of the season but it was unfortunate that we were not able to play the way we wanted in the Grand Final.
Patmore was also thankful for the role his teammates have played in his football development.
“In the last few years I’ve been really lucky to play alongside Matt Guelfi, Sam Petrevski-Seton, Jake Waterman and Bailey Banfield for both the state and Claremont and that has been really important for me moving forward,” Patmore said.
The right footer sees himself as an outside midfielder who is able to use his run and carry to his advantage, while at the same time maintaining a defensive side to his game courtesy of the time spent on the half back line.
The youngster joined other prospective draftees at the AFL Combine a few weeks ago and enjoyed the experience, as well as speaking to a number of clubs.
“Yeah it was good to see what the rest of the field had to offer so to speak and it was a good experience to be there with all the WA boys.
“I spoke to around nine clubs (at the Combine), and in all, I’ve spoken to a large number of clubs in 2017 including both WA clubs,” he said.
The Geelong supporter who grew up idolising Gary Ablett Jnr is remarkably measured when it comes the drafting process.
“I kind of let it pass by and not let it get to me.
“Wherever it takes me, it takes me, as it is the career I have chosen, but I’m kind of excited to get that next phase of it happening.
“I know people have their own opinions, but I can’t really look at that as it will be determined by all the clubs,” Patmore said.
The nerves will naturally come when draft day draws ever closer, but Patmore has a wise head on young shoulders, and will be fully focused on what he can control, which is becoming the best footballer he can be.