BRISBANE LIONS FC
Born: 10 October 1984
Junior Club: Aspley/Mt.Gravatt
Senior Club: Mt.Gravatt
Schools: Brisbane Grammar
Queensland Selection: U16 (2000), U18 (2002)
Draft Details: Queensland Zone Selection (Brisbane) - 2003 Rookie Draft; Rookie Elevation (Brisbane) - 2004 National Draft; Selection #1 (Melbourne) 2010 Pre-Season Draft.
AFL Debut: Brisbane Lions v Melbourne, Gabba, Round 10 2004 (30 May)
Jumper Number: 28
AT A GLANCE
Joel Macdonald shares a football background with the likes of Luke Hodge, Luke Ball, Nick Dal Santo, Ashley Sampi, Graham Polak, Ashley Watson and Rick Ladson, among others. He was a member of the 2000 AIS/AFL Academy squad, sharing the honor with fellow Queenslander David Hale and the aforementioned young teammates. And while he didn’t enjoy quite the same immediate success as those who were chosen in the first round of the widely-acclaimed ‘Super Draft’ of 2000, he has forged an outstanding AFL career from a less favorable starting position. It was a draft to behold. The first round included Hodge, Ball, Chris Judd, Polak, Xavier Clarke, Sampi, Hale, Jimmy Bartel, Luke Molan, Sam Power, Richard Cole, Brent Reilly, Dal Santo, Watson, Barry Brooks, Ladson, James Kelly, Shane Harvey and Jason Gram. Macdonald was born in Melbourne and represented Victoria at U12 level before the family moved to Queensland in 2000. He quickly made an impact with the Aspley Juniors, earning Queensland selection at U16 level and sharing the Young Scorpions B&F with subsequent Lions rookie Paul Shelton. When the family moved across town he switched clubs to Mt.Gravatt, and after representing Australia in the U17 International Rules series against Ireland he collected 23 possessions on the wing in his first game as a top-up player with the Lions Reserves. He was a member of the Lions’ QAFL Premiership side under Craig Brittain, and missed a chance to complete back-to-back premierships when a knee injury cost him a place in Mt.Gravatt’s 2002 premiership side, coached by Danny Craven. But his earlier potential was not forgotten, and he was taken as a Queensland zone selection by the Lions in a 2003 Rookie Draft which also saw them snare Daniel Pratt, Luke Weller, Shelton, Nick Raines and Kevin Tandogac. He did enough in the second half of the ’03 season to earn elevation to the senior list for ’04, and debuted in Round 10 against Melbourne at the Gabba. After nine games in a row, including a standout performance in defence on Essendon skipper James Hird in Round 12, he was an emergency in Rounds 20-22, a late inclusion for his finals debut in the big qualifying final win again over St.Kilda, and an emergency for the preliminary final and grand final. Played 18 games as a small defender capable of playing against over-sized opponents in 2005 before a Round 19 hamstring injury ended his season, but a severe knee injury 7 against Hawthorn at Carrara in Round 7 2006 limited his output in his third season to just three games. He missed the first eight games of ’08 following a knee reconstruction but produced some of the best form of his career through nine games late in the season. He carried on in splendid fashion through the first 14 rounds of the 2009 season until an ankle injury saw him miss five weeks. At the time he ranked third in B&F votes behind Jonathan Brown and Simon Black, and despite playing only 17 games for the year still finished eighth overall, leading the Lions in rebound 50s, third in one-percenters and fifth in disposals. Having cemented his place in the side, he played all 22 home-and-away games in 2009 before his career took a surprise twist as the Lions ended a four-year finals drought. He was selected for the elimination final against Carlton but was a late withdrawal. Officially, he had a back complaint but he told friends and family he’d been dropped. And after he could do no better than emergency selection for the semi-final against the Bulldogs the writing was on the wall. With a heavy turnover of players at the Gabba causing salary cap pressure he was offered unsuccessfully as trade bait. It wasn’t that there weren’t would-be suitors – but Macdonald was overseas during trade week and was unavailable for the medical screening that accompanies any such deal. With more time to go through standard procedures, the 80-game Lion was taken by Melbourne with selection No.1 in the 2010 pre-season draft so begin phase two of his AFL career.