Richmond young gun Brandon Ellis knew one thing when he arrived at Punt Road – he just wanted to play footy.
Ellis, recruited by the Tigers with pick No.15 in the 2011 National Draft, was desperate to fit in by training hard and impressing his new teammates and coaches.
“all you want to do is be around the club and get the best out of yourself… But You soon realise that it does catch up with you, and having that balance is very important.” – Brandon ellis
It worked. Ellis managed 21 games in his first season and was nominated for the 2012 AFL Rising Star award in Round 17.
Life on the field fell into place almost immediately for the 22-year-old from Calder Cannons. Off it, however, Ellis was struggling to find what he wanted to focus on.
He completed a real estate course but that wasn’t for him. A business course followed but that wasn’t quite right either.
Twelve months ago his former junior football teammate Robbie Ball approached Ellis to become involved with watch company Uncle Jack.
Ellis jumped at the chance and the boys haven’t looked back.
“As soon as you get to the club they talk about work-life balance,” Ellis told aflplayers.com.au.
“But all you want to do is be around the club as much as you can and get the best out of yourself.
“You soon realise that it does catch up with you and having that balance is very important.
“Having Uncle Jack, an interest away from footy, has helped me with my on-field performance.”
Players from other AFL clubs – including Jack Gunston, Chad Wingard and Taylor Walker – are wearing an Uncle Jack watch to help promote the name.
— Brandon Ellis (@brandonjellis) September 17, 2014
This week, Ellis is counting down the hours until Richmond’s elimination final clash with North Melbourne at the MCG on Sunday.
Ellis has played two finals – against Carlton and Port Adelaide – and though he’s yet to enjoy a win, he has fond memories of finals footy.
“The (Richmond) crowd is loud all the time but I remember when we played Carlton in that first final, I ran through the banner and I had never heard a roar like that ever before in my life.
“It was just amazing. It gave me tingles and shivers down my spine and that’s what we strive to do and strive to play for.”
Click here to vote for Ellis in 22Under22.