Born: 3 May 1988
Recruited from: Southport
Draft Details: Selection #24 (2nd round) 2006 National Draft
AFL Debut: -
Jumper Number: 34
AT A GLANCE: An athletic 200cm ruckman, he didn’t take up football until 2000 but has sky-rocketed through the ranks and is on the verge of an outstanding AFL career at Hawthorn. Born in Sydney but a Gold Coaster from age four after his family headed north in 1992, he had a varied junior sporting background, representing the Gold Coast in rugby, touch football and cross country running and Queensland in volleyball. But his focus changed when he joined Surfers Paradise Football Club at U12s in 2000.
He was a Queensland representative at U16 level in 2004 and was chosen in the AIS All-Australian U17 “Tall Players Program’ the same year. He represented Queensland at U18 level in 2005-06, serving as a vice-captain in the ’06 side that won the division two championship undefeated under Craig McRae. He was a member of the 2006 AIS/AFL Academy Squad and tasted AFLQ premiership success with Southport in 2005-06. He played as the back-up ruckman in ’05 but in ’06, by which time he’d established himself as the Sharks’ No.1 ruckman, he demonstrated his athletic versatility in an altogether different role in the grand final win over the Zillmere Eagles at Carrara.
Having starred in defence in the Youth International Rules series against Ireland in April 2006, he was a key contributor in his side’s grand final win when he played at centre half back to nullify Eagles captain and former Brisbane and Richmond AFL player Luke Weller. He was chosen by Hawthorn at No.24 in the 2006 AFL National Draft and while his path to the senior side was blocked in his first season by well-performed ruckmen Robert Campbell and Simon Taylor he impressed club officials by the manner in which he went about his football and was a senior emergency several times.