By Terry Wilson
It has been a steep learning curve for the QAFL Round 6 Rising Star Award nominee Jack Wratten, but it’s been one that the 19-year-old has taken in his stride.
This time last season, Wratten was playing QFA Division 1 with Coorparoo where he kicked 47 goals at the club where Jason Dunstall made his name before going on to VFL glory with Hawthorn.
This season, Wratten has made two seniors debuts – the first with Mt Gravatt in the QAFL and the second with Redland, where he is rookie-listed by the NEAFL club.
Understandably he has noticed the steep rise in class from the QFA, through the QAFL and on to the NEAFL.
Last weekend Wratten played his second game for Mt Gravatt and kicked two goals against Wilston Grange.
He made his Mt Gravatt debut in the fourth round then made his NEAFL debut for the Bombers against Brisbane rivals Aspley.
“I played the one seniors game at Mt Gravatt and it was pretty skilful and a lot quicker than what I was used to at Coorparoo,” he said.
“Then at Redland it was even faster and definitely another lift in standard.”
Adam Boon, coach at Mt Gravatt, described Wratten as a hybrid-type of player.
Wratten is 188cm tall but in his own words has a lean physique.
“Jack is an athletic high half-forward, a bit of a hybrid type player,” said Boon.
“He’s good on the run when the ball’s out in front and he competes well. He’s still learning and I’m sure he’ll be a good footballer in the future.”
Wratten played his junior football with Mt Gravatt from the age of five.
When he was 12 he moved across town and played with Coorparoo for a couple of years before playing in the Roos’ firsts for two seasons – playing finals both seasons.
It was last year that Redland contacted Wratten and asked him if he would like to try out at Victoria Point.
“Marty King (football manager) contacted me,” said Wratten.
“It was always in the back of my mind that I would go there so I went down and had a trial and was lucky enough to get rookie-listed.”
A product of Mansfield State High, Wratten had been in the Brisbane Lions Academy and he is like every other young player who has dreams of one day lining up in the AFL.
“Obviously the dream is to get drafted but I’m happy playing NEAFL right now, anywhere I can play at the highest level I can,” he said.
Wratten had been working as a landscaper but is now right into the football scene with his job in the Auskick program with AFLQ.
Wratten used to play a bit of cricket and volleyball but in his spare time now he simply likes to hang out with mates which often involves watching other games of footy.
QAFL RISING STAR NOMINATIONS
Round 1: Nathan Colenso, Morningside Panthers
Round 2: Lochlan Harrop, Sandgate Hawks
Round 4: Angus O’Brien, Wilston Grange Gorillas
Round 5: Sam Hilton-Joyce, Surfers Paradise Demons
Round 6: Jack Wratten, Mt Gravatt Vultures