Born: 6 July 1983
Senior Club: Mt.Gravatt
Queensland Selection: U18 captain (2001)
Draft Details: Selection #55 (4th round) 2001 National Draft
AFL Debut: Melbourne v Fremantle, Subiaco, Rd 8, 2002, (18 May)
Jumper Number: 7
AT A GLANCE: Is the 19-year-old QAFL premiership captain who wasn’t because he’s forged a fine 10-year AFL career with Melbourne. Captain of the Queensland U18 side in 2001, he was all set to skipper the Mt.Gravatt senior side in 2002 had he not been taken by Melbourne at No.55 in the 2001 Draft. So instead of taking over a Vultures line-up that went all the way to the flag under coach Danny Craven he was setting himself up for an extended stay at the Demons.
He made his AFL debut in Round 8 of his first season and finished with a total of four games while being emergency 10 times, including two finals. He was judged Melbourne’s “Most Improved Player” in 2003, when he played 16 games mainly across half back, and in ’04 he was swung to key role at centre half forward, where he ranked 2nd in marks to ruckman Jeff White and made his finals debut. Was described in the 2005 AFL Guide as “as exciting prospect” and was widely regarded as a future leader of the club. He added 17 games in ’05, and after a mixed 2006 campaign in which he missed two games through suspension and spent the next fortnight in the VFL he dominated the last six games of the year, posting 19 possessions and 14 marks in a semi-final against Fremantle.
A wrist injury and some indifferent form disrupted his ’07 before a breakout campaign in 2008, when he was a consistent standout in a struggling Melbourne forward line. He masterminded an upset win over Brisbane in Round 14 with 16 possessions eight marks and an equal career-best four goals. He finished 6th in the B&F and topped the club goal-kicking with 26 and chalked up his 100th AFL game. He was 4th on the goal-kicking list in ’09 when he played a further 17 games but, almost as if it was a reminder that you are never really ‘in’ when it comes to AFL, he had two stints in the VFL. With David Neitz and Russell Robertson having retired, he is now the most experienced key forward at the club and pivotal to the rebuilding phase.