“Growing up, all we knew was sport and family.”
Footy has been a big part of Shaun Burgoyne’s life ever since he was a young kid growing up in the Northern Territory.
“Just full of happy times with my cousins, having a kick and catch of the footy and just enjoying footy for what it is,” he recalls with a big grin on his face.
As part of Channel Seven’s #DISCOVERED series, Burgoyne returned to Katherine in the NT, to visit children who usually only see footy players on television.
Selected with pick 12 in the 2000 National Draft, Burgoyne has gone on to play more than 250 games, and has won two premierships and an All-Australian selection.
“I never expected to be around this long and to achieve some of the things I have.”
“When it comes to football, they’re pretty much self-taught” – Burgoyne
Burgoyne loves watching the young talent on show in the Top End, and can’t help but notice how different their grassroots footy is compared with Victoria’s.
“When it comes to football, they’re pretty much self-taught and you just see the way they play,” he explains.
“They get the ball and tuck it under their arm just sprinting, just carefree, and [you can see] how raw these kids are with their talent.”
The Hawthorn star once believed that travelling overseas was something he’d only ever dream about, but has travelled to places such as South Africa and New Zealand, participating in training camps with his teammates.
“Just playing in some of the greatest stadiums in the world, staying in the greatest hotels [for] pre-season camps overseas… I never thought I’d go overseas in my life.”
At 31 years of age, Burgoyne is entering the twilight years of his career. He’s determined to leave a strong legacy behind when he decides to finish up his career, by pointing the next generation of young Indigenous Australians in the right direction.
“Temptations are there all over so it does mean a fair bit to myself to get up here and give a bit back to the community.”
“I know how vital it is to have positive role models in your life as a young Indigenous person growing up.”
Watch the #DISCOVERED piece on the Indigenous All Stars’ 2013 trip to Alice Springs here.