Caleb Serong has been honing his game with a little help from former Geelong great Cameron Ling. Picture: AFL Photos/Getty Images
Caleb Serong has been honing his game with a little help from former Geelong great Cameron Ling. Picture: AFL Photos/Getty Images

The draft hopeful with a line to Cameron Ling

It became a Tuesday night post-training tradition.

Fresh off every blistering session with Geelong Grammar, Caleb Serong would scan around for the brain he most wanted to pick.

Then he would make his way over to Cameron Ling.

"I probably annoyed the crap out of him. I was always asking questions," the young gun joked.

Throughout winter, Ling was a constant at the school, where he assists the football program as a specialist coach.



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For two years now, Serong and Ling have regularly caught up post-training.

Last year, their chats were all about on-field, with clearance work and midfield craft just some of the topics they would touch on.

This year the focus has switched to off-field matters, with Ling giving advice on leadership and how to deal with the pressure of being a highly touted draft pick. He also organised a catch up between Serong and Geelong skipper Joel Selwood.

"For me, I put a fair bit of internal pressure on myself," Serong explained.

"I had a great chat to Joel Selwood about the pressure and dealing with all that from the lead up to the draft and the end of the year."

It is easy to see why the 18-year-old is garnering so much attention from those at the top level.

Serong is in the mix to be taken in the top five of this year's draft, with the midfield/forward star putting his name further up in bright lights after a brilliant national championships.


He averaged a massive 130 ranking points across the carnival, which was second behind likely No. 1 pick Matthew Rowell.

His outstanding individual numbers weren't just with the ball in hand, with Champion Data rating Serong elite for pressure points, pressure acts and tackles.

His resume left Vic Country coaches with no other choice than to award him their tournament MVP.

Serong's ability to win his own ball in the midfield and then drift inside 50 as a high impact forward has led to comparisons with Port Adelaide star Robbie Gray.

However, the man himself isn't letting the high praise go to his head.

"It is a massive compliment," Serong said. "I watched a lot of him before any of that came out. He is a gun.

"But for me, when I get out on the ground I'm not thinking about that. I'm just trying to play like Cal Serong and trying to make my own way."