by Grant Hitzman
It isn’t often that an athlete is talented enough to play representative football in two codes.
That’s where Liberian born Prince Sheriff is unique.
The imposing 185cm, 92kg brut of a 15-year old is turning heads with his raw size and effective taclking, which he has decided to take from rugby league and apply to AFL.
The dual sport star, who moved to Australia as a 3-year old, hadn’t given much interest to AFL football until a few mates from school invited him to join them after school for a kick of the footy earlier this year.
“My mates just called me down to come and kick the ball around and then the school called me to go for the Queensland trials the next day,” Sheriff said.
“I was a bit surprised because I had played a bit of school footy before but never club or a higher level.”
Sheriff has taken to AFL with ease, since competing at the All-Nations Cup at Coffs Harbour in April, displaying his natural ability and excellent athleticism.
“I was nervous at the start (of the All-Nations) but I started to like footy and enjoy the sport a lot more,” Sheriff said.
“I found out I liked playing defence because it was really fun.
“I had a crack at full forward, but that didn’t work out too well, but overall the week was really good.”
Despite playing just a handful of competitive games, Sheriff starred at the All-Nations tournament, which earned him a spot in the World Team squad that competed at the U16 National Championships this month.
Combining with some of the countries best international talents, Sheriff bonded with other players who came from a variety of different backgrounds and cultures.
“It’s something I like a lot, seeing people from different cultures, it was good for us to all get together and play as one team, united,” Sheriff said.
The big-bodied defender, who weighed 12 kilos more than any other World Team player, was so new to the game that he didn’t even know who coach, Carlton’s Anthony Koutoufides was.
“I didn’t even know Anthony Koutoufides was an AFL player, I thought he was just some random guy who put his hand up to coach us,” Sheriff said.
“So it was really shocking at the start, so I quickly got his number to show off in front of my friends.
“Meeting those guys (Koutoufides and David Rodan) was probably the highlight of the week, not often you get to meet guys like this.”
While Sheriff enjoyed rubbing shoulders with some of the AFL’s past greats, he was adamant there was one part of the World Team trip he wouldn’t miss.
“They forced us to go in ice baths, which wasn’t that fun,” Sheriff said.
Sheriff plans to head back to rugby league for the rest of the season, but is not ruling out a future in AFL if the right opportunity presents itself.