Not many players can boast they started playing football in a representative jumper, but Glendon Woosup can.
Now, he is preparing to do it again for the Queensland Under 18 State Academy in this weekend’s TAC Cup game against Oakleigh at Redland.
Glendon started playing footy after a successful tryout for North Queensland U15 schoolboys, and until he was 16, representative football was the only type he played and Queensland Indigenous sides throughout his teens.
Tragically, Glendon’s mother passed away when he was eight, and from the age of 12 he lived away from home to attend school, but these setbacks did not stop his success.
During this time he become the first member of his family to graduate school and attend university.
The football and academic pursuits took him from rural Queensland to the beaches of the Gold Coast, where he is a member of the Suns Academy and attends Bond University.
Despite all his accolades, Glendon remains true to his origins. He still says his childhood football hero is League great, Darren Lockyer, and when back in the country he spends his time fishing, hunting and mentoring children in his local Indigenous Injoo community.
Glendon credits his mentor program manager of AFL Cape York, Rick Hanlon, as the person who taught him “almost everything I know about footy,” but also as someone who gave him opportunities to become a better man.
In footy Glendon’s versatility allows him to play in the forward or back line and he has been noted for his run, clean hands and his composure under pressure.
He hopes that his story about playing football up north will inspire other young footballers to chase their dreams.
“It’s very humbling for me and my family, growing up in a remote indigenous community where there are little to no opportunities for sport,” he said.
“There is no greater feeling than knowing you get to represent your family, friends and the entire state at the highest level of U18’s footy, it gives me the desire to work harder towards getting drafted.”
He wants recruiters to understand he has been only playing for a short time and he will bring off the ground benefits to the club and community.
“I can only get better, I’ve only played the game regularly for three years and I’m still a student of the game,” he said.
“I believe that I could be an x-factor for a footy club, and that I can bring more to a club than just my football skills.”
Glendon dreams of one day playing in the AFL, and if this doesn’t work out he plans to head back up north with a Masters of Business Administration in hand and manage his family’s outstation.
In his short life he has personified his favourite quote “it’s never going to be easy, because if it was everyone would do it,” and it will be exciting to see what’s next for this extraordinary young man.
By Mitchell Van Homrigh