Connor Owen-Auburn is relishing his new role in Canberra's midfield, producing a superb performance in Saturday afternoon’s win over Sydney University at Henson Park.
The GWS Giants Academy product shone as he notched 20 disposals (11 contested), six marks and four inside 50s to prevail as one of the Demons' best on ground, claiming the NEAFL's round 4 Rising Star nomination.
His second game in as many weeks playing as a midfield role player, Owen-Auburn has slotted into the new position with ease, typified by his trademark poise and tackling pressure.
“I’m enjoying it at the moment and learning a lot,” he told the club's website.
"It’s definitely refreshing but and at the same time exhausting, the last two week's I’ve discovered how much time you need to prepare mentally in order to go up against the NEAFL's top talent, but it's something that I'll continue to educate myself on."
The 20-year-old highlighted his "embarrassing" performance against Redland last month as the turning point of his season.
"I was really embarrassed with my performance against Redland, especially after completing a lot more of the pre-season compared to last year," he said.
"After that (Redland) defeat I was preparing to be dropped, knowing full well that my performances were well below the standard of what I'm capable of delivering."
Owen-Auburn credits assistant coach James De Bono for rejuvenating his output on and off the field.
"I spent a lot of the week watching footage and speaking to James De Bono so that we could identify some issues in my game and really hone in on those areas at training."
"When I was given the role to run with (Andrew) Boston against Southport, I knew the coaching staff had shown some faith in me to bounce back.
"I think following the Southport game I new that I could dig in defensively for the team, but coming into the Sydney Uni game I wanted to be able to help in getting the ball going forward and I think I was able to capitalise on that as well."
A former GIANTS Academy member, Owen-Auburn was part of the GIANTS premiership team in 2016 and will look to continue his rapid rise in form when Canberra welcome them to the nation's capital this Friday night at Phillip Oval.
"Obviously with the shorter break we have to be on top of our recovery and the performance staff have been all over it changing our loads through this week which has been great.
"We know GWS are coming off a loss to the Swans and they’ve got some serious talent within their team that will want to make amends.
"Their midfield group in particular are quite dominate so we need to bring the same pressure from last week and make the most of our opportunities going forward."
Owen-Auburn become's the second Canberra player to be nominated this season after Angus Baker in Round 1.