The Tiger cub who emerged from the shadows
Meet Shadeau Brain, the 16-year-old cub of the Noosa Tigers playing years above his age group against men. Remember the name.
The tall, strapping teen sensation has been plucked out of the under-16s team and thrust into the Tigers 22.
He’s already looking at home.
Brain, the 11th child of 13, who lives on a farm in the outskirts of Gympie, was born tough.
From the backyard squabbles for respect and bragging rights over his six brothers to fighting for the last bit of leftovers, it wasn’t easy.
Contesting a ball in the ruck would be childsplay compared to 12 siblings.
But that upbringing and his natural ability has put the confident kid in good stead to emerge as the Tigers’ next big thing.
“It’s been good fun, great to gain experience in playing seniors,” Brain said.
“It’s definitely more difficult. But good to learn more from everyone.
“They (Noosa teammates) get around me, they look after me. They’re really supported me and shown me good advice.
“I think if I do try hard enough, I can play AFL at a high level. That would be the dream.”
While his height obviously helps - Brain stands at more than six foot - it’s his willingness to listen and learn from his seasoned teammates that has stood out.
“There’s not too many kids who skip Colts footy and go straight to seniors,” coach Adam Bovalino said.
“The last one of ours to do it would be Aaron Laskey, our captain.
“We’ve played him (Brain) everywhere … up forward, midfield across half back.
“He just has a real old head, knows the game and is extremely brave. He’s a ripper.”
The Brain family are no stranger to the Tigers, with Shadeau’s older brothers James and Zachery both past players.
“I daresay growing up on a farm with all his brothers and sisters has put him in a good position,” Bovalino laughed.
“I played with his brothers and they are a good family.”
“It was a good day for the whole family, I remember playing juniors that day,” Brain said about the 2010 flag.
“It’s just great to play with all my mates.
“Growing up, there was always someone to kick a footy with.
“I look up to them (my brothers) more than other people, but I also want to beat them. We’re a very competitive family.
“Whenever they would beat me, they would let me know about it.
“But all my brothers, and sisters, have been big support too.”
Brain and the Tigers have, at times, demolished their way to five wins from five in the Hart Sport Div 1. Tigers face Aspley Hortnets at home on Saturday.