The Wonderful Wiz of Mt Gravatt

Most football clubs have their local larrikan, the bloke who is always cracking jokes, taking the mickey out of others, and who doesn’t mind having all eyes on him.

Rhys Estall is that guy at Mt Gravatt, and although he enjoys himself off-field, come game time, he is one of the best forwards in the comp.

There can be some great stories behind footy club nicknames. Anything from a look a like to a blunder you may have made.

The key to them though is they are usually given to you; you don’t have a choice.

Not in Estall’s case.

“That one started with Troy Jamieson on a pub crawl, he liked the idea of giving himself the name Barra, and I didn’t mind Jeff Farmer so I jumped on that name and called myself the Wiz,” Estall laughed.

“We didn’t think it would stick, but low and behold after a few cheeky beers it’s stayed on for six years.”

He does things a bit differently, Wiz. You won’t see him running around in the fluoro yellow boots fresh off the shelf, more likely in the old pair kicking around the rooms someone has left behind.

“It’s not the boots that do the work it’s the bloke wearing them, if they are there and they feel right I will whack them on and give them a try,” he said.

Underneath the boots you’ll find one of the most famous silhouettes in the world.

“I had a mate who is quite a good tattooist, one night after the Hawks preliminary final I was over at his, I’m a bit of a Jordan fan so we whacked Air Jordan on my foot so I’ve always got Air Jordan’s on now,” Estall said.

And he doesn’t mind getting in front of the camera either, hosting ‘Wiz’s word,’ a few little videos that can be found on YouTube stitching up the boys around the club.

The 25 year old has been the go to man up forward for Mt Gravatt this year.

Despite the Vultures only getting the one win so far, he sits second in the league goal kicking with 12 across his four games.

Estall’s strength comes from his speed and leap, meaning he can play both tall and small in the forward line.

“It’s easier playing small, I’m not the tallest bloke going around so it can be a bit challenging sometimes playing on those talls, but I like the challenge,” he said

When Mt Gravatt moved back into QAFL in 2014, Estall moved over to Redland, a place where he played two years of junior footy.

“Last year at Redland was fantastic, I had a great time out there,” he said.

“I learnt a lot from good forwards like Cleve Hughes and Daniel Dzufer, it was a lot of valuable experience that I could take back this year to the Vultures. I thoroughly enjoyed my time down there.”

He made the move back home to Mt Gravatt in 2015, searching for a better footy/life balance.

“I just wanted to come back to play with my friends, and I had some stuff outside of footy that I want to do,” Estall said.

“The NEAFL is pretty full on and serious so just to be able to take that step back and enjoy the other things in life more.

“I grew up playing with a lot of these boys, and we all spent a lot of time outside the club together, just little things like that. Footy doesn’t take precedence in everything, so it’s the little things that help the season more if you’re enjoying yourself outside of football.”

He is under no illusions that the start to 2015 has been less than ideal, but is confident that the boys will turn it around.

“So far with the one win it hasn’t been the start we were after, but I think we have a relatively young list and had quite a turnover from last years playing list, so we are just getting to know each other and how the game plan works,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to a strong showing in the back half of the year, we have had a couple of good weeks on the track now.”

There’s no doubt Estall rolls a bit off the beaten track, and doesn’t mind being the center of attention around the club, but when he runs across that white line, it’s his footy that does the talking.

By Andrew Wiles – @andrewjwiles

Photo: Highflyer Images

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