Meet the Suns’ new footy nerd
A SELF-CONFESSED footy nerd knows an abundance of rookies have gone on to celebrate glittering AFL careers.
That's why when the Gold Coast Suns chose Jacob Dawson as an academy selection in last year's AFL draft, he knew he had the same chance as any other to do the same.
Brownlow medallist Matt Priddis and triple premiership winning former Hawthorn player Josh Gibson are among a long list of former rookies to stun the AFL. Dawson wants to do the same.
"I was always pretty confident once I got to a club I'd be able to deliver," Dawson said.
"It's spot on the list. Once you get to a club everyone is the same, whether it's (Wil) Powell in the first round or me as category B rookie.
"That is the motto here at the Suns. Being a footy nerd I guess you do know of those gun players who have started where I have and if I could emulate half the careers of those I'd be pretty happy."
Dawson got a taste of the AFL in his debut season, playing three games between Round 14 and 20 against Hawthorn, Collingwood and Melbourne.
The 18-year-old went toe-to-toe with some of the best while playing as an inside midfielder.
Dawson is also likely to earn selection in the NEAFL team of the year after averaging 29 disposals and 6.3 tackles in his 14 games.
He was named among the team's best on 11 occasions and will have one more chance to add another to the list when the Suns play Sydney at the SCG today in their final NEAFL game of the year.
The 182cm talent, who weighs 85kg, grew up playing numerous games of footy each weekend for the Burleigh Bombers while his father Paul was president.
After finishing his own game, Dawson would often hang around and play in the one or two age groups above his before spending the rest of the time watching the AFL.
"I'm a bit of a footy nerd," Dawson said.
"I grew up watching and playing footy non-stop. I'd play in the under-10s and then try to play in the under-11 and under-12s after. I have always loved footy my older brother (Alexander) was a year above me and he loves it too.
"We would watch the majority of the games over the weekend."
Gold Coast are in drastic need of more quality midfielders but Dawson said the club had multiple candidates who would be adding to the engine room over the coming seasons.
"That will be a goal of mine going into the preseason to try and get a spot in there," Dawson said.
"We do have a strong group of mids coming through like Will Brodie and Jack Bowes.
"We have a really good young group who can start pushing the midfield so it becomes harder to pick teams for games."