By Beth Newman
The Gold Coast’s Dom McEwan is a determined youngster.
McEwan, currently in Sydney playing for the U16 Scorpions, says he has already “mapped out his whole life.”
The 16 year-old was pushed up a year at Helensvale High, and is currently studying five Yr12 subjects as well as a first-year university subject.
Next year, he plans on starting a Business Management/Accounting degree at Griffith University on the Gold Coast.
It’s unusual to hear a teenager talk about his plans so definitively, especially when pursuing such an uncertain path as football.
While McEwan admits there are obviously a lot of unknowns in the football paths, there is one thing he knows for sure.
His uncle, Duncan, was listed by Hawthorn but homesickness cut his career short, and Dom says he knows he wouldn’t be plagued by the same issues.
“If I had that exact opportunity he had, I’d grasp it with both hands,” he said.
The mad Hawks fan looks up to hard man Luke Hodge, for all aspects of his game.
“We drove to Melbourne for my grandma’s 80th earlier this year and we caught the Hawks v West Coast game and I was just admiring Luke Hodge the whole time,” he said.
“He’s hard at the footy, courageous, everything you want in an ideal player.
“He’s just perfect.”
Since being shifted down back last season, McEwan can certainly take a lot of inspiration from Hodge’s team-oriented attitude.
“Originally, I was centre half-forward and in the ruck, because I can jump,” he said.
“I just got thrown into the deep end last year by my Southport coach and my Stingrays coach and I haven’t been able to get out since.
Playing centre half-back for Gold Coast North in the state championships, McEwan is now playing a more running half-back role, which he says he prefers.
“I like that you can run off and shut down your opponents and you can set up attacking play,” he said.
“It’s not always the person who kicks the goal who did the play, it’s the people starting from the back line.”
His preparation for this week’s nationals was set back early in the season, after he broke his thumb in training.
Unable to do any skills-based work with the injury, McEwan had to focus on fitness before re-joining the main squad three weeks later, with a playing glove, something he was glad to see the back of.
“It limited my grip and marking ability and I was very frustrated for a while and now I just have to wear a little splint,” he said.
“I can do everything now and I just like being back out there with the boys.”
Speaking ahead of Queensland’s U16 nationals campaign, Mcewan said he was excited to get a glimpse of life as a professional footballer and have an opportunity to take a bit more responsibility, spending a week away from his family.
“It’s going to be a buzz,” he said.
“It will introduce us to the realities of, if you make it, the AFL.
“You’ve got to do things of your own accord and you’ve got to eat well, sleep well, got to do everything of your own accord, can’t just have your parents pushing you along the whole way.”
Despite the big stage of the national championships, McEwan said he wouldn’t worry himself thinking too much about games before they happen.
“I don’t really like to think about it too early, because I’ll get too anxious and then I’ll get too many thoughts in my head.”
“Don’t really like to think about the game until the day before and then I’ll just play some scenarios over in my head and hopefully I can perform well.”