Some have to fight for their spot on a team and work much harder than those who are naturally talented.
One of those footballers who made it through to the AFL is former Hawk now Swan Ben McGlynn.
He shared his thoughts with healthy.com.au on how he became a professional footballer through hard country yakka.
“From under 18s I went to Box Hill for two years and was very lucky to have a coach like Andy Collins who gave me an opportunity to play senior footy there and was very lucky to be rookied by Hawthorn,” McGlynn told healthy.com.au.
“I’m not as polished as other AFL players but my work rate is something that I pride myself on. It’s got me to where I am today and I’m fortunate that Box Hill and Hawthorn gave me a chance to play AFL.”
“Just being in the system, constant training and working on your weaknesses and just being in an environment of AFL and having a lot people guiding you along the way. It was just a matter of getting that confidence and belief to back yourself in to play well at that level.”
“I felt that I was in the best 22 but everyone’s going to be in and out and you have to work for your spot. Hawthorn wanted to win as many flags as they can over the next couple of years. I was a little bit upset leaving there but there’s no hard feelings and I’m happy to be a part of the Swans now.”
He said leaving home at 16 to follow his dream of playing AFL helped.
“Probably in under 18’s, I had to go out of my comfort zone from leaving home when I was 16 to just striving and getting the most out of myself. Just having that and not being drafted as an 18 year old has just made life hard work. I like to do it the hard way. There’s a lot of players in the AFL that haven’t just stepped into the game. It’s a lot of hard work,” he said.