From Townsville to Mt Gravatt

By Antony Stewart – Townsville Bulletin

THEY are the teenage miracles on their way to overcoming incredible hurdles to become Townsville’s next AFL super stars.
Stannis Agita, 18, and Braydon Preuss, 17, yesterday flew to Brisbane to join respected AFL Queensland State League club Mount Gravatt as they continue training with the Gold Coast Suns Academy.

That achievement alone is enough to have members of the medical community shaking their heads in disbelief.

About three years ago, Agita was horrifically injured when he was hit by a car. He was told he would never play again.

Preuss, meanwhile, was struck down by potentially life-threatening meningitis mid-way through last year, spending close to two weeks in hospital and shedding 10kg from his impressive 100kg frame.

A week later, though, he helped Hermit Park win their AFL Townsville semi-final on their way to the premiership.

“I just had bad headaches, vomiting and I couldn’t move, it wasn’t fun,” said ruckman or full forward Preuss.

“I don’t really remember much of it, I was doped up on morphine the whole time, but when I came out I was pretty skinny.”

Even before his brush with meningitis, Preuss’s path to AFL recognition was taking an interesting twist.

This year marks just his third playing the sport after growing up in rugby league.

But the moment Preuss got his hands on the red Sherrin, he knew he had found his passion.

“I just love the running and the skills involved,” he said.

Preuss and Agita have busy times ahead, training twice a week with Mount Gravatt and then travelling to Gold Coast to train a further three times. Stannis will be joining younger brother, Ryan, in the Suns system.

Hermit Park president Daniel Watts praised Agita’s never-give-in attitude.

As a 16-year-old Agita’s right leg snapped in two places and took more than eight months to heal as he had numerous surgeries.

“It’s a real credit to him and it’s just his attitude,” Watts said.

“There’s no ‘poor me’ or anything like that, he’s very unassuming and just gets out and does the job, but he is very talented.”

Despite his age, midfielder Agita finished the Tigers’ premiership campaign as their best and fairest player.

Watts believes the pair have the ability to follow in the footsteps of fellow Hermit Park products Jake Spencer (Melbourne Demons) and Josh Jenkins (Adelaide Crows), who are AFL first-team regulars.

Story and image courtesy of Townsville Bulletin

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