When Brett Eddy kicked four goals in the third quarter against Hawthorn in Port Adelaide’s final JLT Series match, it felt familiar.
After all, the 27-year-old journeyman had carried out the same feat on a number of occasions at various levels.
The bags for Foster in the Alberton Football League were proceeded by an electrifying eight-game stint with Collingwood’s VFL team in 2011 where he delivered 21 goals. That run, however, was cut short in an instant.
“I was playing against Sandringham and I’d kicked about three goals in a 10-minute spurt,” Eddy told Aflplayers.com.au.
“Then, I went to tackle Raph Clarke and changed direction and my knee popped and gave way. Unfortunately, the ACL was gone.”
Collingwood’s recruiters had actually shown some interest in recruiting him, assuming his form continued to impress, but those hopes were dashed after the ACL tear.
While that incident exemplifies how quickly a football career can be taken away, the rest of Eddy’s chapter illustrates the power of persistence.
After spending the requisite time repairing his knee in 2012, Eddy sought to rehab his mind through his work as a broker.
“I was working full-time in the finance industry, so all of 2012 was spent doing my knee rehab, but my focus turned to working and studying and a few other options outside of football.”
“When you do your knee or any other form of long-term injury, you need another avenue to get your mind right.”
It was by chance that his next footballing opportunity would come at South Adelaide in the SANFL. Just after doing his knee, Eddy was contacted by Central Districts toward the end of 2011, but the goal-kicking machine was reluctant to pack his bags and move to South Australia and not play for 12 months.
“I asked them to give me a call back next year which they did,” Eddy explained.
“But I was pretty close with Xavier Gotch through my De La Salle alignment and he was playing at South Adelaide. One day I rang him up and asked him what the SANFL was like and he got the footy manager onto me, they flew me over for the weekend and put a deal in front of me and we went from there.”
What came next would set up his AFL chance.
In his last three seasons with the Panthers, he kicked 183 goals and won the Ken Farmer Medal in 2016 after kicking 74 goals which was enough to catch the eye of the Port Adelaide recruiters.
The common cliché to use when telling his story is that he took the road less travelled, but it couldn’t be more apt.
Starting out at his hometown club of Foster, it’s hard to imagine that the road would lead to the SCG in Round 1, assuming he gets the opportunity to debut.
“When I was playing at Foster, AFL wasn’t even close to being on the cards. Obviously, you want to make it and you dream about it but it was so far away that you’re practically four levels away from it.
“My journey is quite different to most other players. I’d say 90 percent of guys come out of the under 18s and as a 19-year-old, all they know is football and they can take for granted the life they have.
“I know what the workforce is like, I know what waking up for a 9-5 job entails. My studies have been really important to me and I’m still going to continue to do them and to further my skills. Hopefully I go really well with my football and can play here for 5-6 years, but I’m looking forward to opportunities after football.”
On November 28, 2016, Brett Eddy’s name was called by Port Adelaide in the NAB AFL Rookie Draft, some five years after his time at VFL level came to an end.
While Port Adelaide had shown interest in the lively forward in the lead up, he really had no idea whether or not his dream would be realised.
He did have a contingency plan in case it eventuated, however.
“I had a chat with the club in August last year about the possibility of being picked up in the rookie draft,” Eddy recalled.
“I gave my boss a heads up before the draft that it could be a chance for me to be selected and that if it was to eventuate I’d have to pack my bags. Once my name was called out he knew that was it so I handed in my resignation that day and packed up and left.”
After impressing in Port Adelaide’s third pre-season hit-out, an elevation to the senior list seemed inevitable, and was granted on Tuesday when Eddy was officially told by Ken Hinkley.
“Getting the news that I’ve been upgraded and will be eligible to be selected at any time during the year is really good news for me. If I debut, my sister and my parents will come up and watch and my mates are ready to book flights. If I do get selected it would be special.”