AS the nation waits in anticipation for COVID-19 restrictions to be eased, young draft hopefuls hope that they will be able to return to competitive action in the second half of 2020 and playing the game that comes naturally to them.
Following the excellent AFL Draft Diary by Swan Districts midfielder Zane Trew last month comes another entry by a fellow Black Duck in Jack Allen. The 18-year-old is an athletic ruck-forward who has also spent time deep in defence. A main strength of the youngster lies in his tremendous vertical leap which he uses to his advantage as he can take the footy at the highest point.
In 2019, Allen combined Colts with Swans with school footy duties at Guildford Grammar and it was there that he developed full confidence in his game. He then brought that momentum back to Swan Districts where he was consistently one of their best players in the latter part of their season.
Allen displays his love of footy throughout this fascinating reflective piece, as does his appreciation for the individuals that he has learnt from in his footy journey to date and his excitement in reuniting with his teammates once more.
AFL Draft Diary by Jack Allen
For me, footy has always been more than just game day.
It has been about spending time with my teammates, training together, refining my craft, working on my fitness, and supporting my teammates to do the same.
The start of the 2020 football season has been the exact opposite of this. It has been about the individual, it has been about training in isolation, pushing myself to do better than I did the day before. It has been about reflecting on my skillset, identifying what I need to work on, identifying the best training drills to improve these areas, and then putting those adjustments in place.
In isolation has this been hard? Absolutely.
I have been running before work, and completing training drills and bodyweight drills after work. I have taken my footy down to the local oval and practiced kicking goal after goal from a range of different positions across the 50, refining my skills.
And most of these times it has been eerily quiet at the oval, just me and my footy. It is such a direct contrast to the sounds of mates having a kick-to-kick, and teammates both screaming for the ball and taking screamers on each other during team training sessions.
Do I think this period of isolation will make me a better footy player? Absolutely.
Why? Because while I have always been driven, and while I have always loved the game of football, this period of isolation has given me an even greater appreciation for the game. I miss football. I miss what it is, what it means and how it makes me feel.
I have been part of the Swan Districts Football Club for the past five years, after joining their development program at 14 years of age.
I have really enjoyed my time with the club and have been appreciative of the opportunities they have afforded to me. I have especially enjoyed the opportunities to work with the different coaching staff, and of course club stalwart Percy Johnson.
Percy has had a huge impact on my development as both a footballer and as an individual. I am very thankful of the time that he has invested in my development and am looking forward to training with him again when the current restrictions end.
2020 has been identified as the year I need to make an impact and demonstrate to those that have been scouting me that I can play AFL football. 2019 had seen me play limited WAFL football for my club Swan Districts due to PSA sporting commitments at Guildford Grammar.
While Guildford may not have had a very successful year, I was very happy with the growth in my game, both on and off the field, and I am looking forward to a successful 2020 with Swan Districts Football Club. I am looking forward to demonstrating my skills as both an individual player, and as a team player.
And, finally, I cannot wait to train with my teammates, support my teammates, continue to develop my skill set and run out onto the oval for that very first game this season.
That first touch on the field, that first goal- it will make it all worth it.
Like it always does.