Alex Woodward’s AFL career was unfortunately short lived. He played two games for Hawthorn in 2014 but spent five years on their list — the majority of which was spent rehabilitating three full knee reconstructions. Since entering into retirement after rupturing his ACL for the fourth time at the beginning of the VFL season in 2017, Woodward has penned a blog detailing his journey. See the full column at www.more4titude.com.
Football surrounded me as a kid.
I barracked for the Fremantle Dockers from a young age, largely thanks to my father’s influence. I always brought a football to school and then went to training afterwards. Weekends were dedicated to the game and I played for the Noble Park Football Club as a junior alongside some of my close friends.
Coincidentally the Noble Park Junior Football Club also laid the foundation to play Australian Rules at the highest level for two of my close teammates at the time Piva Wright and Adam Treloar, who went on to be drafted by Richmond and Greater Western Sydney respectively.
Along with those guys I was able to develop friendships and memories that I still cherish to this day from the years playing at the Noble Park Football Club.
Passionately supporting my AFL team (admittedly Fremantle didn’t win too many games back then so any win was a good win!) was also something I looked forward to on the weekends growing up. Being a young kid anxious for his team to get the victory, the sport always provided an emotional roller coaster, there were so many highs and lows throughout the footballing season.
Australian Rules encompassed my life from an early age and I loved every bit of it.
I moved out of the home at the age of 17 — one of the greater learning experiences, which readied me for the world of fending for yourself and helped me grow and become more independent — football became more serious and structured.
The ambition to one day play in the big league became the ultimate goal and, throughout my adolescents, I was lucky enough to take part in representative teams, firstly at district level then at state level as I hit my later teenage years.
Throughout my under-16 and under-18 years, I was a part of the Sandringham Dragons Football Club under the TAC Cup competition; the best junior talent pathway in Victoria.
I also transferred from from Noble Park to the Dingley Football Club at local level in order to be closer to the Sandringham Dragons program. Throughout my three-year stint with the Dragons, I was fortunate to co-captain the side to a premiership in 2011 — finally tasting premiership success.
Also in that year, I was lucky to be apart of an under-18s Victorian Squad that won the National Championship, a privilege in every regard. These are some of the best memories I have and they paved the way to being drafted into the AFL system.
Combining those football programs along with playing football at Mazenod College, it was evident that my love for the game was growing. Having been exposed to such great experiences, learning from some amazing coaches while playing alongside some incredible people and using the first class resources, I was grateful to represented the teams and clubs I did growing up.