Sydney Swans FC
Born: 9 January 1988
Junior Club: Surfers Paradise
Senior Club: Southport
Schools: Robina Primary, Robina SHS, John Paul College
Region: Gold Coast Stingrays
Queensland: U16 (2004), U18 (2005-06)
Draft Details: Selection #79 (5th round) 2006 National Draft
AFL Debut: Sydney Swans v North Melbourne, Telstra Dome, Rd 6, 2008 (27 April).
Jumper Number: 18
AT A GLANCE: An athletic key position utility player and one-time junior basketball star who was a second-chance draftee to the Sydney Swans in 2006 after he was narrowly overlooked by the same club 12 months earlier. The son of a former VFA footballer and women’s national league basketballer, he was born in Melbourne but moved to Queensland with his family aged two. He lived and played football on the Gold Coast until 2004, when the family moved to Brisbane for him to finish his schooling at John Paul College. Even then, though, he retained his connection to Southport, where he had graduated through the ranks to play senior football in 2005-06 before missing the finals both years due to injury.
Also a Queensland basketball representative from U12 to U18s – as a 196cm point guard - he was a member of the QAS squad and was judged ‘player of the championships’ at the national schoolboys carnival in 2005 but rejected an AIS scholarship to concentrate on football. He represented Queensland at U16 level in 2004 and at U18 level in 2005-06, and was a standout performer in the Craig McRae-coached 2006 Scorpions that won the division two Australian U18 championship undefeated.
He found himself on the wrong side of an ‘either or’ selection late in the 2005 National Draft, but when a similar scenario arose late in the 2006 Draft he got the nod with the Swans’ last pick and the fifth-last pick overall. He played a couple of NAB Cup games with the Swans in the 2007 AFL pre-season and was a well-performed member of the Swans reserves side that won the ACTAFL premiership, playing at both ends of the ground. He made a memorable AFL debut in Round 6 2008 when he was unwittingly the villainous 19th man in an interchange mix-up in which he stepped onto the ground too early saw the Swans fined $10,000.
After playing two AFL games in ’08 and sharing in another ACTAFL flag, he stepped up to senior ranks with real impact in 2009. Playing 18 games, he kicked 20 goals including a career-best four against Carlton ib Round 16, and three against the Brisbane Lions in Round 22 to earn a nomination for the NAB AFL Rising Star Award. Having finished the last seven games of the season kicking 4-1-3-2-1-1-3 goals, he shared the Swans’ Rising Star Award with Nick Smith, and shaped as the long-term replacement for former premiership captain and power forward Barry Hall, who had split with the club mid-season.