Mt.Gravatt’s Daniel Mowat is the latest nomination for the NAB NEAFL Rising Star Award.

Thursday, 3 August, 2011


It’s not unreasonable to think that the prospect of replacing the likes of former AFL players Darryl White and Shane Morrison at centre half forward in a 2011 NEAFL side that has genuine premiership aspirations might be a little daunting. Especially if you are a 19-year-old who played just four senior games in 2010 with a side that finished sixth.

But try telling Daniel Mowat, who switched from Redland to Mt.Gravatt this season in search of opportunity.

The implied pressure of filling a spot vacated by the former Brisbane Lions premiership icon and a former Brisbane and Richmond AFL player hasn’t worried Mowat in the slightest.

In fact in one season with the Vultures he has exceeded his output in two seasons with the Bombers.

And heading into the NEAFL finals next month he is described by Mt.Gravatt coach David Lake as “a crucial part of what we’re all about”.

He’s played all but one game in a Vultures campaign which sees them challenging the NT Thunder for the NEAFL minor premiership, and slotted straight back into the top side after a week off through injury.

In an unobtrusive way that matches perfectly his quiet personality Mowat has kicked 16 goals in 14 games to rank fifth on the club goal-kicking list behind Jake Furfaro (35), Nathan Gilliland (31), Chris Smith (21) and Albert Proud (18).

Four times he’s kicked three goals in a game, including last Saturday’s clash with Morningside, and has been rewarded with the Round 17-18 nomination for the NAB NEAFL Rising Star Award (Northern Conference).

Just as it was with the Team of the Week and Syd Guildford Trophy votes, it is a joint nomination for the two rounds on the basis that each side played only once over the fortnight.

Mowat’s nomination follows his Round 2 recognition for the corresponding award early last year when playing in defence with Redland. He is possibly the first player to win a Rising Star nomination twice with two different clubs – and playing at opposite ends of the ground.

It is all part of one of the big success stories of local football this year in which Mowat decided to switch camps after deciding not to do so 12 months earlier, linking with his third different club.

A Redland junior to U14 level, he had joined Morningside when he switched schools to attend Brisbane State High, but in 2009 he returned ‘home’ to Victoria Point and five senior games mid-season with the Bombers.

He began the 2010 season as a Brisbane Lions top-up player and, in what proved to be a fortuitous showing, bagged four goals against Mt.Gravatt at the Gabba in the season-opener.

If Lake needed any convincing the young man with the trademark ‘mullet’ could play this was it.

But Lake didn’t need any convincing. His son Jack had played U16s at Morningside with Mowat under Steve Russ so there was already a connection.

Indeed, at the end of the 2009 season Mowat called Lake for a chat about his football.

“It wasn’t about moving to Mt.Gravatt – it was just about where he was at with his footy,” Lake recalled. “In the end he decided to stick with Redland and give it another shot.”

But opportunities were limited under Matthew Francis in a 2010 season in which Mowat had been among the last players cut from the Australia Post Queensland U18 side. He’d played only his four senior games with the Bombers in addition to two games with the Lions.

So next time when he knocked on Lake’s door it was about a switch of clubs. And this time the Mt.Gravatt coach was only too happy to welcome him to Dittmer Park.

“Why wouldn’t you – he’s 193cm, he’s a great athlete, he’s got good hands, kicks it well and has a good conversion rate from 40-50m?” said Lake.

It was a move that saw the Vultures also sign former State U16 captain Dom Russo, another Morningside junior who was returning home from a stint in Melbourne. He is one of Mowat’s best mates.

It was a no-guarantees Mowat move. Yes, he’d get an opportunity during the pre-season, said Lake, but it wasn’t as if he was guaranteed a spot. Mowat earned that all by himself.

In Round 3 he kicked three goals against Queanbeyan in Canberra and as the season has unfolded he’s slowly become more comfortable in the key role at centre half forward.

“It’s funny how things have worked out,” said a reflective Lake. “Originally I was thinking he (Mowat) would play full forward and Nathan Reid would play centre half forward.

“But when Ben Gibson decided he wouldn’t play Reid ended up at centre half back, with Mowat at centre half forward and Jake Furfaro at full forward. And right now I couldn’t be happier.”

Even after Mowat missed the Round 13 clash with the Lions due to a finger injury he slotted straight back into the senior side, and rewarded Lake’s faith with back-to-back three-goal bags against Morningside and Labrador in Rounds 14-15.

“He’s a personal trainer by trade and is a really elite runner – he runs in the top five at training and is right up behind (Sean) Yoshiura. He’s got an amazing fitness level which is starting to show out in a game more and more.

“He’s always been able to get his hands on it but now he’s starting to catch a few and kick a few. His first bag of three against Morningside showed he was starting to take a few more contested marked, and his confidence and contribution has grown week by week.”

But last week Lake had another challenge for the multi-talented Mowat, who was a member of Queensland Cricket’s Emerging Players Squad from U12s to U15s, was a Brisbane South rugby union representative and a top-flight GPS 400m runner for State High.

“He’d been getting into a position to make a lot of tackles but he’d been falling off too many so I rang him on the Thursday night and I challenged him to make one tackle each quarter that really means something,” Lake explained.

“In the first quarter last week he put a great tackle on Doc Tomlinson to win a free kick and kicked the goal from 30m out. He’s that sort of kid – he doesn’t say too much but he takes in what you say and tries really hard to do what you ask.”

It probably didn’t hurt, too, that Lake, just to make sure he didn’t dint Mowat’s confidence, had made a point of telling him that the first-time inclusion of boom junior Clay Cameron for his senior debut last week shouldn’t have him fearing for his spot.

Mowat, one of 11 different Mt.Gravatt goal-kickers last weekend of the second game in a row, is described by Lake as a 150-200 game senior player with the Vultures. And at centre half forward that makes him an invaluable acquisition.

“You just don’t get players like him every day, and the good thing is with him we get his entire family. They are great people – his Dad gets in the rooms and helps out each week and it’s a big part of what we’re all about.”

Mowat is the second Mt.Gravatt player nominated for the Rising Star Award behind Nathan Reid and joins a field which also includes Morningside’s Alex Sexton, Peter Mollison, Tom Bell and Peter Yagmoor, Aspley’s Michael Hutchinson, Brendan Colch and Adam Hughes, NT Thunder’s Jed Anderson and Ross Tangatalum, the Brisbane Lions’ Richard Newell, Broadbeach’s Kallen Geary and Luke Shreeve, Redland’s Trent Manzone and Labrador’s Jake Goldsmith.

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