Nick Blakey celebrates after kicking a goal against Hawthorn on June 21 at the SCG. Picture: Cameron Spencer/AFL Photos
Nick Blakey celebrates after kicking a goal against Hawthorn on June 21 at the SCG. Picture: Cameron Spencer/AFL Photos

Next big thing has Bloods in his veins

YOU couldn't blame them for trying.

Before committing to the club he had barracked for growing up, both Brisbane and North Melbourne flagged their interest in Nick Blakey.

His dad, John, had after all played 135 games for the Lions (when Fitzroy) and 224 for the Kangaroos meaning he was eligible to be chosen by either as a father-son selection.

Family factor aside, such was his immense talent as a mobile tall, both would've welcomed him with open arms.

Blakey however would spurn their advances.

The Swans would win the services of a star of the future.

"I did speak to both the Lions and Kangaroos," Blakey said.

"It was a tough a decision ... with dad obviously winning two flags (1997, 1999) with North and starting his career with Fitzroy

"But I've lived in Sydney for 12 years, went to school up here. Sydney is home.

"I grew up going for the Swans and looking up to all the boys I'm playing alongside of now."

Nick Blakey has been learning a lot from Sydney star Lance Franklin. Picture: AAP
Nick Blakey has been learning a lot from Sydney star Lance Franklin. Picture: AAP

It also meant he would be going to work with dad, John having been a part of the Bloods coaching staff since 2007, under a couple of former teammates in Paul Roos and John Longmire.

The Blakeys had resided in Brisbane for four years, when John was an assistant to Leigh Matthews at the Lions - he was a part of the 2003 premiership campaign and even filled in as senior coach for a game in 2005 when 'Lethal' took ill.

But they have lived and breathed red and white since, albeit not always at the family home where Nick still lives.

"Obviously mum's at home too... she's big on coming home and leaving work at work," Nick says.

But, the fact that both are able to share in the highs and lows is not lost on Blakey.

"I suppose it's pretty unique," he says. "Not many father, sons would be able to do it.

"We both love the Swans. It's pretty cool."

A one-time backline coach, John is now the Swans' head of coaching and development. Nick, meanwhile, has graduated from the Swans academy to become an integral member of the forwardline after being drafted last year.

"Dad has obviously been a big part of my life and big part of me as a footballer. Not a whole lot's changed," Blakey says.

"But I've obviously got Stevie J (forwards coach Steve Johnson) and all the other line coaches. Dad doesn't actually have much to do with my role now and how that's developing.

"He's got all the other boys to look after."

With superstar forward Lance Franklin suffering a hamstring strain late in last week's win over Hawthorn, Blakey stepped up with two goals.

It was one hell of a breakout game - one that netted him a Rising Star nomination.

The theme this week has been Blakey stepping into Franklin's shoes - a surreal situation for the 19-year-old, who like a young Franklin will fill out his 195cm frame.

"He was my favourite player when I was a kid," Blakey said ahead of today's clash with Gold Coast.

"I used to watch him at Hawthorn. When he came across to Sydney to play for the team that I was going for it was really cool

"Now to be playing alongside him is pretty special.

"He's been really good for my football... he's taught me so much already.

"It's always changing, depending on what I'm doing during games.

"(Such as) leading patterns ... he sees the game so well, and he's great at getting on the end of a lot of kicks."

Blakey may have already mastered the 'Buddy' celebration - arms stretched out after taking a contender for mark of the year and threading a goal in the last term against the Hawks.

"I don't know what I was thinking," he said. "Yeah, just caught up in the moment. Obviously took a nice grab and just celebrated. I was just having so much fun out there.

"I've always flown for my marks as a junior, I liked taking hangers.

"If there's someone in front of me then I'll definitely go for it and at least bring it to ground."

Sitting alongside Longmire, the camera fixed on him, John kept a calm exterior as his son turned match-winner.

"He's obviously got his job to do in the box. I've got my job to do out on the ground

"But, he would've been stoked that I kicked a couple of goals."