Queensland footy fans are usually used to seeing the long locks of Matt Eagles running around at Leyshon Park, but tonight, he will be on the big screen.
Queensland resident, and former Yeronga South Brisbane forward, Matt Eagles has made the top 15 of Fox 8’s show ‘The Recruit.’
The 10-part series, which starts next Wednesday at 8:30pm, follows a group of amateur AFL players who train, play and live together, with the chance to win a contract to an AFL club.
The 26-year-old, scaffolder, personal trainer and massage therapist, says winning a contract to an AFL team would be a dream come true.
“Being 26 I thought this would be my last chance to have a crack at the AFL and potentially get drafted,” Eagles said.
“I didn’t go to university so winning the contract would be the beginning of my profession as a footballer. It would be a childhood dream come true.”
He has a haircut like Sideshow Bob but is affectionately known as the ‘Big Friendly Giant,’ due to his 199cm frame.
Other than his height Eagles says his natural aggression makes him stand out.
“I am super competitive and my aggression to the ball can’t be taught. I like taking massive screamers and I have little fear,” he said.
Hailing from South Australia Eagles says there would be some sentimental value to being drafted to childhood club Port Adelaide.
“My nanna and other family members are die hard Port fans but I’d be grateful to go anywhere,” he said.
Wasted time spent partying, instead of focusing on footy, is Matt’s driving force and reason for entering the Recruit.
“The show has been an eye opener and has proved to me that I’ve got the potential to play in the AFL,” he said.
“If I had put my mind to it I could’ve been there already. I’m really grateful for this second chance.”
His parents are Collingwood and Carlton fans which has made the experience of being coached by Mick Malthouse extra special.
“Having someone like Mick around you is unbelievable,” he said.
“Hanging out with him and getting to know him outside of football was special and something not many people get to do.”
Eagles is extremely grateful for the opportunity to be coached and mentored by AFL greats.
“The boys and myself really appreciated him (Malthouse) and the mentors who have been awesome, developing us,” he said.
“I have learnt a lot outside of football on the show from the mentors in the house and I have experienced a lot of personal development.
“The overall experience has been unreal. I’ve met a lot of amazing people and great friends along the way.”
The ride hasn’t been all smooth sailing with Eagles experience many challenges and hardships along the way.
“The hardest thing is being away from the family,” he said.
“A lot of the boys are from Melbourne, where the show is filmed, so they could visit their family.
“Being from interstate it was hard not being able to see mine regularly.”
The Recruit also challenged Eagles physically and despite his fitness background he was pushed to the limit.
“The challenges broke all the boys physically,” he said.
“I am competitive so I went at it 100%, but I found the challenges involving heights most difficult.”
A wake up call from his coaches at Yeronga last year convinced him that he had the potential to go further.
“Having Matt Brown (Jonathan Brown’s Brother), Chris Ryan and Tim Notting all down there at Yeronga woke me up to my ability,” he said.
“They mentored me and believed in me and for that I’m grateful.”
Being a role model to younger kids, especially his siblings and nephews, is in the back of his mind as he competes to win a coveted AFL contract.
“They look up to me, so I want to be a good role model and make the family proud,” he said.
The first episode of season two airs tonight on Fox 8, at 8:30pm.
By Josh Martin