Health concerns for young footballers

IMAGINE having your dream built up instantly only for it to fall away.

In the recent AFL draft, only one sixth of the nominations were given the opportunity to fulfil their dream as an AFL player next year.

One of the many players that missed out was Geelong Falcon Joe Dare, who was touted for a spot in the top 30 playe taken in the draft, only to miss being selected altogether.

Last year, he wasn’t even touted to be drafted. This year, the tough young farmer from Colac made his mark.

“Joe’s a bit of a late maturer… If you asked him six months ago, he would’ve said he was going to be a dairy farmer for the rest of his life,” Geelong Falcons regional manager Michael Turner said.

“I’d be staggered if clubs weren’t looking at him for the rookie draft.”

Welfare was a major issue for Turner, who has had to make some painful phone calls to those young Falcons not drafted during his time as regional manager.

“He’s (Dare) probably feeling shit house at the moment,” Turner said.

“For some kids, if they’re not handled the right way they can be a bit touchy.”

“My first call after the draft is finished is to the kids who don’t get drafted. When Luke Hodge got drafted at No.1 (in 2001), my first call was to Dominic Gleeson who missed the draft and is now captain of Werribee,” he said.

Draft experts had him almost assured of a position in the 30s or 40s of the draft and Falcons regional manager Mick Turner told Dare he was pretty certain to be drafted.

He had also won the Falcons best and fairest;  a team that had another five players drafted on Thursday night.

“Everybody I spoke to including the AFL was that he would go in the 30s mark so to miss the draft completely surprised me,” Turner said.

“I had him marked down as a definite draft prospect. I told him that he would get drafted because of the indications that I had.”

“The first thing that I had to do when I got on the phone last night was just apologise for the fact that I thought he would get drafted,” he said.

There were 1367 nominations for the AFL draft leaving just 95 players a chance for under 18 players to get a foot in the door.

Northern Knights’ Anton Woods became the fifth of the last seven Morrish Medallists for the TAC Cup best and fairest, to miss out on the draft.

Turner said the TAC Cup have helped players who miss out on the draft with the ability for players to return to their team next season as an under 19 listed player.


By Brent Diamond

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