It’s a unique set of circumstances that a potential father-son recruit finds himself in.
For me, I had been given exposure to the Hawthorn Football Club from the age of 16.
Witnessing the day-in and day-out lifestyle of these guys was simply awesome.
I can understand how this exposure might impact upon some people’s motivation levels – it might make them think they’ve made it already or they may become overwhelmed by the intensity of it or any other range of reactions.
But, for me, it just further fuelled an already-fiery desire to become a Hawk.
These guys were my heroes growing up, but now I wanted them to become my teammates.
I desperately wanted it.
I think some people feel an extra pressure or an extra weight on their shoulders because they feel like they’re carrying the name of their father.
I personally never felt that, I just embraced it and I guess ultimately it is all I’ve ever known.
I felt like my old man was happy whether I played footy or I didn’t.
It’s funny but leading into the draft camp towards the end of last year, my dad and I were chatting about how to go about interviewing with other clubs since I wanted to go to Hawthorn so badly.
We were genuinely considering a plan where I would essentially ‘tank’ my interviews with other clubs and make myself look pretty average!
At the end of the day, we didn’t execute it – we thought it would be best to go in and be myself with everyone – but I think that does show my intent!
I really set myself for the combine testing.
I’ve always known that running and physical testing has been one of my best attributes so I just knew I had one last chance to impress recruiters.
Once the season was over, I trained really hard in preparation because I knew, after that was over, there would be nothing more I could do.
You picture draft night in your head for years.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve just dreamt of every detail about how the day would go down.
I think I did this so much that when the day actually arrived for me, it didn’t actually feel real.
As the picks go by, there was this weird conflict of thoughts in my head.
As like anyone that hadn’t had their name called out yet, I was getting more and more nervous about the lessening number of spots available.
But at the same time, I knew, the longer it went without my name being called out, the better it was for Hawthorn and my chances of ending up there.
I was constantly mixing these two thoughts up in my head. It was pretty crazy.
After the first night drew to a close, Macca (Hawthorn National Recruiting Manager Mark McKenzie) gave me a call and he told me that they would match any bid that came from there on so I knew I should have been feeling a bit more safe heading into the second night but for some reason I just couldn’t quite settle my nerves just yet.
But once my name was finally read out, it was everything and to have just my family with me on the night was extremely special.
When I first started at the club, I lived with Tom Mitchell and his partner Hannah for the first week or so.
He showed me the ropes early days and obviously with him being a midfielder as well, I was able to watch him closely and watch how he goes about everything.
I took so much out of that first week and that experience.
I’ve been amazed by how much of a family environment it is around the club.
All the young boys are so tightknit – they know what you as a first-year player are going through, for some of them they’re probably still being confronted with similar issues and challenges, and so they offer great support and friendship along the way.
I’ve been working with Sam Mitchell quite a bit on my running patterns and not following the footy just flat-out.
As a junior, games are obviously played at a slower pace so I could afford to essentially just chase the footy around all day.
But that all changes now.
Looking ahead, my goal for this year remains the same despite these weird times we find ourselves in.
I want to make my AFL debut.
That’s what I think about while I’m training through these challenging times, and I tell you what; it’s a damn good motivation!