St. Kilda FC
Born: 19 August 1986
Junior Club: Tweed Coolangatta
Senior Club: Southport
Schools: Bilambil Primary, Palm Beach SHS
Queensland Selection: U21 (2005)
Draft Details: Selection #33 (2nd round) 2005 National Draft
AFL Debut: St.Kilda v Carlton, MCG, 21 May 2006 (Rd 8)
Jumper Number: 19
AT A GLANCE: A rugby league convert who has developed into one of the AFL’s most consistent utility defenders, earning selection in the 2009 All-Australian squad before playing in St.Kilda’s 2009 losing grand final side. Originally from Terranora, just south of the Queensland/NSW border, he didn’t start playing AFL until 2002. He began at Tweed Coolangatta JAFC before switching to Southport to play in the AFLQ State League. He missed Queensland selection at U18 level in 2004 but in what is a not unfamiliar and inspirational example of a late-developing Queenslander, he has made every post a winner since then.
In 2005 he was a standout performer for the Queensland U21 side against WA Country at Carrara, starred in defence in Southport’s AFLQ grand final win over Morningside at the Gabba, and won the AFLQ Rising Star Award. This earned him selection as St.Kilda’s first selection at No.33 overall in the 2005 AFL National Draft. An exceptionally athletic 194cm, he is capable of playing on a taller or mid-sized opponent in defence, can fill a run-with role through the midfield and can be a dangerous attacking option across half forward. He surprised many with his progress in his first season in AFL company, making his debut in front of almost 40,000 people as the Saints posted a 92-point win over against Carlton at the MCG in round 8, 2006, when fellow Gold Coaster Nick Riewoldt kicked nine goals. He also played in round 18 and was an emergency no less than 12 times.
After starting the 2007 season in the VFL he got a call-up in round 5 and played every game thereafter, earning a nomination for the NAB AFL Rising Star Award with 22 possessions in round 16 against Hawthorn in round 16 and was recognized by the Saints as “Most Promising New Player” at the Club Championship Dinner. So impressed were AFLQ officials with his development and the “second chance” message he sends to other aspiring youngsters they instigated the Sam Gilbert Medal that is now presented each year to the best player in the Queensland U21 side. He also was named in the inaugural 2007 Queensland Team of the Year, selected on State of Origin guidelines to recognize Queenslanders playing in senior competitions right across Australia.
Has been a senior regular since then, enjoying a pre-season premiership and making his finals debut in 2008, and in 2009 emerging as one of the League’s most valuable all-purpose defenders to break into the St.Kilda B&F top 10. He was declared ‘off limits’ to the new Gold Coast AFL franchise in mid-2009 when he signed a contract extension that tied him to the Saints until the end of 2011. Destined for a long and successful AFL career.