Jake Brown drafted by Sydney Swans
by Brad Greenshields, Coffs Coast Advocate
The North Coast can finally lay claim to having a male AFL player of its own.
On Monday afternoon former Lower Clarence Eagle and Coffs Swans junior Jake Brown was added to the Sydney Swans rookie list after being named as a NSW Zone selection.
Brown was overlooked in the AFL Draft 12 months ago, however he remained determined to play at the elite level and has earned his opportunity after impressing with the 2017 NEAFL Development Squad – a small group of Under 19 Academy players who play regularly with the Swans NEAFL team.
The 19 year-old was told on Friday that the Swans would nominate him in Monday afternoon’s rookie draft but had to keep it quiet until it was all official.
A task that Brown said “wasn’t easy”.
He hits the training track at the Sydney Cricket Ground with his new teammates on Tuesday, the culmination of a dream he’s had for years.
“I didn’t care how I got on a list or where I got on a list, so long as I got a chance,” he said.
“Now that I am on a list, I just want to get through pre-season training first and earn the respect of my teammates with hard work and hope for a game after that.”
For a lot of rookie listed players, getting onto the senior list is a difficult task but the Sydney Swans is a club that prides itself on giving rookies a chance.
Co-captain Kieren Jack and club veteran Heath Grundy both started at the Swans as rookies as did All-Australians Nick Smith and Dane Rampe.
Fellow senior players Jake Lloyd, Tom Papley, Harry Cunningham and Nic Newman all started there as well while Jordan Foote, Daniel Robinson and Sam Naismith were all NSW Zone selections just like Brown.
Originally from Wagga Wagga, Brown moved to Grafton where he did his final two years of primary school before becoming a St John Paul College student and Coffs Swans player.
Lately the hard-running midfielder/halfback who uses the ball well by both hand and foot has been spending time in rehab recovering from stress hot spots in his back but has been back running for about two and a half weeks.
Brown admits he’ll be playing catch-up for a while at training.
“It’s going to be a grind for the first few weeks until I get back to full fitness,” he said.
Sydney Swans General Manager Academy, Chris Smith, said Brown sets a great example for other players from the North Coast aiming to be a part of the club’s Academy system.
“Jake represents a young footballer who hasn’t had things go his way with injury and missing out on the draft,” Smith said.
“However, he’s a leading example within the Academy of a young man who is willing and determined to do absolutely everything to give himself the best chance of being on an AFL list.”