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Irishman adds X-factor inside 50

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 09:  Ray Connellan of Sandringham (R) celebrates kicking a goal during the round 12 VFL match between Sandringham and Footscray at Trevor Barker Beach Oval on July 9, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Graham Denholm/AFL Media)
International rookie Ray Connellan has turned heads with his work in the forward half.
His blistering pace and knack for kicking goals has been evident in the past two weeks in particular and he’s added some real x-factor in our forward line.
Lindsay Gilbee

International rookie Ray Connellan continued his impressive run of form on Sunday, providing plenty of dash as a small forward in the Zebras’ 47-point loss at Trevor Barker Oval.

Hailing from County Westmeath in Ireland, the Saints plucked the lightning quick Gaelic Football star in last year’s rookie draft and in the last two weeks has kicked five goals to edge closer towards an AFL debut.

“Ray Connellan is developing really well and making inroads as a small forward,” VFL coach Lindsay Gilbee told saints.com.au.

“His blistering pace and knack for kicking goals has been evident in the past two weeks in particular and he’s added some real x-factor in our forward line.”

Second-year midfielder Nick O’Kearney was another to be among the Zebras’ best in the loss to the Box Hill Hawks, finishing with a game-high 35 disposals and a goal.

“Nick O’Kearney has been really consistent all season for us and the football he’s been able to put together puts himself in the frame for an AFL debut," Gilbee said.

“He had a lot of the ball today and his ball use wasn’t quite up to his usual standard but that comes with opposition pressure. He’s an important player for us but he’s developing well.”