Riley Collier-Dawkins has dreamt of playing AFL since he was young.
After the Sydney Swans 2005 premiership, five-year-old Collier-Dawkins met Adam Goodes and Barry Hall at the supporters’ day at Lakeside Oval, igniting a dream for the impressionable Swans fan.
The photos remain on display in his home, reminding him of what could be if he is taken in this year’s draft.
Collier-Dawkins would drag his parents to the local football oval and run through drills with them, and with each visit he would challenge himself to improve.
Like all of the boys who have nominated for this year’s AFL draft, they’re united by a collective dream to land on an AFL list but for Collier-Dawkins his journey differs slightly from the other potential draftees.
He grew up with two mums — Jacinta Collier and Chris Dawkins.
Despite his situation being unfamiliar to most people, for Collier-Dawkins and his parents it’s their norm.
“My family situation is different but I grew up with great morals and got taught great lessons,” Collier-Dawkins told AFLPlayers.com.au, just days out from the AFL draft.
“Just because it’s different, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Diversity is something we should welcome and really appreciate.”
“Since we first met in 1988 things have certainly changed,” Jacinta explained.
“It was definitely tougher for us as teenagers and young adults coming out, but I think we have gone in leaps and bounds.”
Since being cut from the under-16s TAC Cup and representative squads, Collier-Dawkins has embraced every football opportunity that has come his way.
After a growth spurt in his 17th year, Collier-Dawkins said he “finally realised” he is more than capable of being drafted and come Thursday night will be nervously waiting for his name to be called out.
Jacinta and Chris are prepared for all outcomes should an interstate club draft their son, with GWS looming as a possible home.
Although there will be tears, his parents are ready for Collier-Dawkins to spread his wings.