St. Kilda FC
Born: 16 June 1988
Junior Club: Eastern Swans (Mackay)
Senior Club: Morningside
Schools: Bucasia State School (Mackay), Mackay North SHS, Cavendish Road SHS
Regional Selection: Country Kookaburras
Queensland Selection: U16 (2004), U18 (2005-06)
Draft Details: Selection #9 (1st round) 2006 National Draft
AFL Debut: St.Kilda v Hawthorn, MCG, Rd 8, 2007, (19 May)
Jumper Number: 20
AT A GLANCE: The first Queenslander taken in the star-studded Class of 2006 which produced no less than 14 AFL draftees, he is a country boy made good in the ‘big smoke’ and after a little while consolidating his place in the AFL is destined for a long and successful career. An in-and-under midfielder with a solid left-foot and excellent goal-kicking ability, he was born and bred in Mackay and played senior football with the Eastern Swans in the central Queensland town at 14, kicking five goals in his first game against Bakers Creek. He represented Queensland at U16 level in 2004 before moving to Brisbane in 2005 to finish his schooling and further his football career.
A Queensland U18 choice in 2005-06, he was a member of the 2006 AIS/AFL Academy with fellow Queenslanders Albert Proud, Gavin Urquhart, Ricky Petterd and Brent Renouf, and a key member of the 2006 Queensland U18 side which won the Australian U18 Division Two Championship undefeated under coach Craig McRae, picking up an All-Australian jumper. Playing senior QAFL football with Morningside in the back end of 2006, he also was a member of a losing grand final side against Southport at the Gabba but won AFLQ Rising Star Award in the hottest field of nominations in the award’s history. He polled 60 votes to beat Petterd (41), Kurt Tippett (26), Ben Warren (26) and Renouf (21).
In a star-studded draft, Armitage was taken at No.9 by St.Kilda behind only Bryce Gibbs (1),Scott Gumbleton (2), Lachlan Hansen (3), Matthew Leuenberger (4), Travis Boak (5), Mitch Thorp (6), Joel Selwood (7) and Ben Reid (8). He was the first of 11 Queenslanders drafted that day, with Shaun Hampson (17), Urquhart (21), Proud (22), Renouf (24), Brad Howard (27), Petterd (30), Kurt Tippett (32), Warren (69), Paul O’Shea (76) and Jesse White (79), with Chris Smith, Scott Clouston, Gavin Grose, Jarrod Harbrow, Daniel Dzufer, Haydn Kiel and Joel Tippett following in the rookie draft, along with recycled Queenslanders Marty Pask and Michael West.
He made his AFL debut alongside fellow country product Howard in Round 8 2007 against Hawthorn at the MCG in front of 36,000 people. It wasn’t exactly a memorable game as the two sides between them kicked just four goals in the first half, and some Melbourne critics described it as one of the worst games they’d seen as both sides flooded incessantly. Yet it was a night he’ll never forget. He played a total of three games in ’07 and added 13 in ’08, including his first two finals after he shared in the Saints’ NAB Cup grand final win earlier that year. In ’09, looking to consolidate his place, things didn’t all go his way, and he struggled for three senior opportunities in Rounds 19-20-21 in a side which posted a 20-2 win/loss record through the home-and-away season. As much as he would have been disappointed, he was playing his best football at the end of the year, and was an emergency throughout a finals campaign in which the Saints lost a thrilling grand final to Geelong. Looking to consolidate his future in 2010.