By Grant Hitzman
The first time Wylie Buzza played a game of footy, it was used as an excuse to take a day off from school.
Now, the 18-year old Mt Gravatt prospect is winning QAFL rising star awards with just two years of experience under his belt.
Coming from a rugby league background, Buzza decided to take a stab at AFL when his club season in league finished for the year.
“I’d always played league, but when I finished the season I decided to sign up for my local AFL club in the Lockyer Valley when I was 16,” Buzza said.
“I went to the Darling Downs Crows halfway through my first year, but the club folded so I to came to Mt Gravatt to keep playing.
“The bond and the team atmosphere between the blokes is my favourite part of the game.
“It really feels like a family, putting your body on the line for your mates, the camaraderie is what I love.”
The 6’6 ruckman has become a cult hero at the Vultures, with his passion for the game, likeable personality and curly mop of brown hair winning players over.
Buzza was a shining light in Mt Gravatt’s 23-point loss to Labrador over the weekend, dominant in hit-outs, showing clean hands around the contest and taking strong marks all over the ground.
The strong bodied teenager was less convinced about his performance but remained positive that he was doing all the right things to impress his coaches.
“It was definitely not the best game of the season for me, but Labrador are a quality side and it was a tough game, so I guess I wasn’t too bad,” Buzza said.
“I think I’ve been fairly consistent this season, but I probably could be playing better if I look back at all my games.
“But all the coaches seem happy and as long as I keep hitting the targets they set for me I can’t be too disappointed.”
The rugby league convert has been surprised at the level of competition the QAFL has produced in his first season in the competition, but he is relishing every second of it.
“There are a lot of good players running around,” he said.
With four rounds to go in the QAFL regular season, the Vultures sit in fifth place, hanging on to the last finals spot by percentage alone.
Buzza believes the Vultures can turn around some recent losses and play finals football in 2014 if they follow his simple advice.
“Kick straight,” he said.
“I really think if we would have kicked straighter against the magpies last week and definitely surfers a few weeks ago, the results would be much different.
“But I think we can take some positives out of those losses and especially in the third quarter against Labrador this week, we just have to keep playing for each other and we will get those wins.”
Although the charismatic ruckman is relatively green to the game, it isn’t stopping him from setting some ambitious goals.
“The dream is definitely to play at a professional level and hopefully next year I get to play NEAFL or play state 18’s as a top ager.”
Mt Gravatt will take on undefeated Morningside next week at home.