I was not drafted until the age of 24 and for a long time I thought that I was at a disadvantage and would not be able to make the most out of the personal development platform the AFL can provide.
However, I quickly discovered that the opportunities are there for those willing to step outside what is comfortable and challenge yourself to grow.
These pathways can also lead to facilitating involvement in passions you may have.
Outside of football and long before my AFL career began, cancer awareness, RSPCA and the accompanying fundraisers have always been something close to my heart.
In 2010 I decided to participate in the ‘worlds greatest shave’ and left my hair to grow until mid 2011, where I successfully raised $3000 for the leukaemia foundation.
Since then I have found so much reward in associating myself with these causes and helping reach their targets.
I am grateful that being an AFL player gives me a louder voice in which to reach out, help others and continues to open opportunities for me to participate.
I am currently in the final year of a Commerce Law degree and for the past three years I have spent many of my days away from training at ‘Bradley Bayly legal’ firm.
My time spent there has been a tremendous support to my studies and has given me the ability to apply first-hand knowledge and understanding to my practice, as well as an insight to the legal field and my potential career outcomes.
I have met with and had the opportunity of networking and associating myself with fellow corporates, clientele and partnerships of diverse backgrounds in which will be of great benefit once I find my place within the workforce.
Firm Partner, David Bayly has become much of a mentor in my work practice, studies, ethics and also in personal life.
David has provided me with many tools to further platform myself post football and become the base of many networking opportunities.
Through my time at Bradley Bayly I have been granted the opportunity to sit in on client meetings, review case files, effective negotiations along with techniques and clear insight into day-to-day workings.
Through this it has become obvious the ability to listen, understand and communicate clearly is vital and a skill that I am able to apply in all fields of my professional development.
For the last two years I have also been a fortnightly guest of the ‘Heidi, Will and Woody’ breakfast show during the season.
This has brought forward my confidence in public speaking as well as igniting a passion and enjoyment for radio that I was previously unaware of.
It has been interesting to see the inner workings of the radio network and building relationships with producers, content directors, presenters and seeing in part, the work and preparation that goes into each show.
Both workplace avenues have been doors opened to me through the AFL, in which I am very grateful.
In short, any opportunity to culminate my passion for charity as well as aiding in my post AFL career pathways is something that I have leapt at.
I highly believe in the importance of players exploring the opportunities presented to them through their AFL experience, as well as exposure to outside environments for guidance and perspective to life balance outside of football.
Regardless of whether you’re in the AFL system for two years or ten, the opportunities are there.
They just need to be sought out.