Western Bulldogs FC
Born: 14 June 1989
Junior Club: Surfers Paradise
Senior Club: Southport
School: The Southport School
Region: Gold Coast Stingrays
Queensland: U16 (2005), U18 (2007)
Draft Details: Selection #4 (1st round) 2008 Pre-Season Draft; Elevated to the Senior List 2010.
AFL Debut: -
Jumper Number: 31
AT A GLANCE: A natural sportsman of wonderful athleticism trying to make a career for himself in the AFL. And yet another player who is a convert from a rival sport. Born in Moree in northern NSW, he spent part of his early childhood in Toowoomba and moved to the Gold Coast in 1999 to attend The Southport School, where he played rugby and excelled in athletics. It wasn’t until 2005 that he turned his hand to AFL at Surfers Paradise, and in his first season he represented Queensland at U16 level.
He missed much of the ’06 season with shin splints but in ’07 broke into the senior side with AFLQ premiers Southport and represented Queensland again at U18 level. He missed selection in Southport’s ’07 finals teams but impressed at the AFL Draft Camp with his raw athleticism, ranking fourth in the standing vertical jump. It was enough for him to get his first big break when he was claimed by the Western Bulldogs with selection No.4 overall in the 2008 Rookie Draft. Scott Clayton, Bulldogs recruiting manager at the time, considered him closely at the time of the National Draft and when he was still available in the Rookie Draft he pounced. “He’s raw but he’s got enormous athletic potential if he’s prepared to work really hard,” Clayton explained.
He spent the 2008 season with the Williamstown Seconds, playing as a ruckman/forward and adding another important learning experience to his CV when he joined fellow Queenslander Paul O’Shea in winning the VFL Reserves Premiership. In 2009 he again found himself playing in the Williamstown Seconds, but this time at fullback. He did enough to convince senior coach Rodney Eade that he had the capabilities to play at the highest level in this sort of role, and not only was he elevated to the senior list for 2010 but he was given a two-year contract to go with it.