State of Play: Liam Dawson

Queensland U18 player, Liam Dawson, gives his insights into the 2014 rep season.

A lot of people don’t probably realise how much goes into 100 minutes of footy.

The amount we have to go through on and off the field is unbelievable, with meetings and reviews and training.

I train four nights a week, Mondays and Wednesdays with the Queensland team, Thursdays with Aspley and Tuesdays we have a gym session and game review with the Brisbane Lions Academy.

But I think about footy basically all day, every day – when I’m at home, I have a footy in my hand all the time.

This year it has become more intense, with the AIS trip, more travel with the state team and starting work, and it can be hard to get people to understand the commitment.

You have to say no to things because you’re going away or playing footy and those decisions are ultimately the sacrifices you have to make.

I’ve had to make some tough decisions because of footy, but it’s the number one thing in my life and this year particularly, I’ve had to make it my number one priority.

It’s something I’m pretty upfront about and you just have to find a good group of friends who understand that.

You live every day for something you are passionate about and for me that thing is footy.

Being drafted has been my ultimate dream since I was seven years old and I’ve never ever given up and I never ever will.

Last week, I had a pretty difficult week with some personal stuff and it gets hard to separate that, but I have to eliminate that as much as I can from my mind and when I’m at training or on the field, I just ignore everything else.

I’ve had to deal with little problems along the way, but I think you get a better and stronger mind from it and I’m sure I’m not alone in that.

Yeronga, where we do our rep training, has become like a second home for me and just getting around and talking to my teammates helps me forget about off-field stuff that’s going on.

I don’t really have any strategies to put that stuff out of my mind, I think it’s just the kind of person I am.

We did all that kind of stuff in the U16s and last year, but it’s not really me, I think it’s just about finding what works.

Once I get to training, I just concentrate on footy and just enjoying every minute. It’s something other 18 year-olds don’t get to do.

I love the competitive nature of footy, trying to be the best player and person you can and getting the best out of myself.

To be able to get out and have a kick is probably the most fun thing to do, I can’t get away from it and I can’t get enough of it.

I’m lucky that I have a group of mates who I’ve known since I was seven, gone through footy and school with, and they have always been really good.

For me footy is a real outlet.

And you play footy for the kinds of days that we had on Sunday, with a one-point win over Gippsland.

I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a win so much in my life.

It was an awesome feeling, you can’t really match that feeling, the boys deserved it so much and we have worked so hard.

Footy makes me happy and I am really looking forward to the rest of the year.

Follow Liam on Twitter: @ldaws6

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