Q&A: Sid Draper (South Adelaide)

SID Draper is not just a pick one contender. He’s a kid who loves getting out to surf, and an Adelaide fan who bases his game off Port Adelaide stars Connor Rozee and Zak Butters. He’s a thoughtful trainer, leader, and arguably the most decorated junior in the country right now.

With plenty of experience already behind him and a huge season ahead, we sat down with the South Adelaide prospect to chat about how he’s set up to attack the year both on and off the field.

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Sid Draper

Height: 180cm

Weight: -

DOB: 05-07-2006

Q: Sid, you’ve already achieved plenty in your junior career. How has all your experience set you up for your top-age season?

A: The accolades are awesome, I’ve worked hard for it. It’s set me up because I’ve basically been figuring out for myself, how does Sid tick? So I’m not going in unsure of what works for me. It’s just prepared me really well.

Q: How does Sid tick?

A: In training I’ve been making an intention for each session. A big one for me in pre-season was (improving) my polish off my kick. I’d be getting out before training, really putting in effort to hone in on my problem areas and how to fix them. Then in drills, really being able to target how I can make them better and more consistent… Being really organised as well, pre-game, I like a good consistent routine with food, hydration, sleep, and having a good balance off-field.

Q: I understand you’ve split your time during preseason and had a couple of disruptions, walk me through what it’s been like so far?

A: I started pre-season with the state squad and they ran it really well, credit to them. It was absolutely unreal what they’d done in a year’s time. I went into the Christmas break, was all good, did a lot of running and a lot of gym.

Then the first week I came back I got my knee driven into the ground in a tackle and that set me out for a week or two. My hip flexor also played up with a bit of overloading, so that set me out for another couple weeks. I had about a week of modified training, got to (preseason testing), and head back into the seniors now.

Q: You have some handy people to lean on. Your brother Arlo is back home and you played alongside Bryce Gibbs last year. Have they helped you establish those standards?

A: Having Arlo back home is awesome, it’s helped me a lot. He’s been through this all before, he’s helped me out with finding what standards I need to be up to… having Bryce last year was a big help because he was a number one draft pick. He told me I don’t really need to change, just play to my strengths and do what I do. He was a big mentor for me.

Q: How do you think you differ from Arlo, both on and off the field? 

A: Arlo and I get on really well. Personality wise, we’re the complete opposite. When it comes to footy he can lock in when he needs to, but off the field he’s really chill and doesn’t talk about footy much. He’s a lot more laidback than I am. I like things to be a bit more organised. I’m laidback, but not as laidback as he is.

Sid Draper during preseason testing | Image Credit: Rookie Me Central

Q: Where do you think you play your best footy, and where do you anticipate to fit in across each squad this year?

A: My big one is midfield. I rotate up forward because I feel the coaches know my speed and agility can be a bit dangerous, but I play my best footy in the guts. I expect to hopefully play a couple of games in the senior side and I’ve already talked with the coach and it’s looking like a forward-mid rotation with Arlo. But hopefully across the state and other academies it’ll be midfield.

Q: What do you see as your greatest strengths, and on the flipside, what are you still improving on?

A: My strengths on the physical side are my agility, speed, and explosion out of contest, and I reckon I make the right decisions. That translates to my weakness where I probably need to polish them off. I’ve been working on it so touch wood, hopefully it pays off in game. But I feel like I’ve improved.

Q: What kind of goals have you set up for the year?

A: My goal right now for state is my leadership. I’m striving to be captain of the side… also just enjoying football, not letting pressure get to my head is the goal for me, which I think will be fine, but  I just want to enjoy the last year of juniors that I have.

Q: What would it mean to be able to back up some of your team and individual accolades from last year?

A: It would be awesome. Everyone wants individual accolades and team success. To back it up would be an awesome experience… the end goal for everyone is to win a premiership. I’d like to keep up a consistent year where I can try and earn those accolades again.

Q: Who are you looking forward to playing alongside from around the state?

A: Obviously the (National) Academy boys like Tyler Welsh and the Camporeale’s, they’re awesome. Another South boy, Phoenix Hargrave, he’s one to look out for so hopefully he gets a League run this year. But Arlo’s probably the big one.

Q: Are there any players you like watching and try to mould your game on?

A: The easy two for me are Connor Rozee and Zak Butters. I’d like to think I have Connor’s lateral movement and agility and Butters’ hardness at the contest. I mould my game off those two.

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Q: Are you a Port Adelaide fan?

A: No, I’m a Crows fan. Always been a Crows fan my whole life… but I love watching those two play.

Q: What are your thoughts on moving interstate, if it came to that?

A: I’m very open to it, don’t mind where at all. I’m just excited if I get picked up anywhere.

Q: You would have seen the hype around Harley Reid last year. Do you pay much attention to that sort of thing when it comes to you?

A: It’s pretty hard not to come by things. There are a lot of people saying a lot of different things but as I said before, I have a good support group. They tell me how it really is. Harley had a lot of hype around him, I reckon I could learn off him. Not saying I’m anywhere near his hype – that was something else – but I could probably learn some things about how he dealt with it.

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