By Terry Wilson
Rookie Lochlan Harrop made an impression when he played his first seniors game in the QAFL for Sandgate last weekend.
A haul of three goals on debut was enough to earn Harrop the round two Rising Star nomination despite the Hawks copping a lesson from the defending champions Palm Beach Currumbin at Lemke Road Oval.
It was a first grade call-up that surprised the youngster, who this season switched from the Aspley juniors for the chance to play at QAFL level and with Aspley not having a team in the competition.
Harrop turned 16 only last month, so his rise has been rapid, on the back of the experience of being part of the Brisbane Lions Academy.
“It was pretty good,” Harrop said of his maiden QAFL appearance.
“It was very fast paced playing against the premiers, so I definitely now know what to expect in my next game.
“I guess three goals was good although I got two of them in the first quarter.
“Obviously I was very excited when I was told I’d be playing seniors. I’d played a couple of practice games but wasn’t really expecting to make my debut in the first game.”
The teenager revealed some advice to try his luck with Sandgate – that he needed to play at least at QAFL level this year – led him to cross town and sign with Sandgate.
Good news for the Hawks was that he brought three brothers with him from the Aspley juniors. They are Cambell, 14, Calen, 13, and Marshall 11.
There is every chance that Harrop will one day perhaps return to Aspley and play in the NEAFL.
This is something he wants to do – and to also keep alive his dream of getting on to the list of an AFL club.
And, being a part of the Lions Academy system, Harrop could even get a call to play in the NEAFL this year.
Harrop knows he has to bulk up a bit. At the moment he is only 175cm tall and weighs in at 70kg. But as a small forward he has pace off the mark, which is a bonus these days.
The teenager was born in Perth where his father Jake played.
But when the family moved to Queensland when he was five he started playing rugby league at primary school before he joined the Aspley juniors as an under-eight.
Harrop is now in Year 11 at Ferny Grove State High.
It is worth nothing that the ever-developing Sandgate seniors had six players new to the club against Palm Beach. Three of them were aged 17 or less.
Sandgate coach Jarad Marsh said Harrop is the type of player the club had been lacking for a number of seasons.
“We’ve lacked a natural crumbing forward and Lochie played primarily as a forward pocket on Saturday,” Marsh said.
“He has the ability to get to reasonably good spots.”
QAFL RISING STAR NOMINATIONS
Round 1: Nathan Colenso, Morningside Panthers
Round 2: Lochlan Harrop, Sandgate Hawks