Country boy on track to AFL dream
AFL: Tom Matthews first got his hands on a Sherrin when he was just four years old, and 15 years later, he's on track to achieving his dream as he ran out onto the field with the Brisbane Lions last weekend for the North East AFL grand final.
The 19-year-old former Dalby player got the call up to play back pocket for the Lions in their grand final game against the Southport Sharks last week.
Matthews has been training with the side for the last two years and played two games for Lions NEAFL side this season.
On grand final day, Matthews said he just had to do his job to help the side and the team came together to pull off a 135-59 win.
"Running out in the grand final, the experienced players' faces pretty much tell the tale, they're all pretty keen to get it started and win the flag so I think we all just followed it in their steps and put in a pretty good effort and came away with a medal," he said.
"We came out firing and got a handy lead at the start and just kept going from there, from the start the effort was there and we just continued to roll on and ended up being a good win.
"I brought the pressure which is what I usually do, everyone brought the pressure and it carried us along."
Introduced to the game by his dad, Matthews played for the Swans in his younger years but moved to Brisbane with his family in 2016 to focus on AFL
Matthews said the dream has always been to play for a higher side but in the last three years he's been more focused and 'switched on' towards achieving his goal.
"I just try to put in effort all the time and I think that's what I've done, I obviously missed out last year, but the effort has been there and .... it was a great reward to play in a grand final," he said.
Like many country kids with big dreams, Matthews started playing in Dalby and shared some words of wisdom to the aspiring young athletes back home.
"If you want to make it high, just stick to it and just keep training, work on the basics and just keep showing up," he said.
"Effort a hundred percent of the time, don't choose when to go just make sure it's 100 per cent of the time."
Matthews' attention will now turn to getting match fit for next season with hopes to play for the Redlands NEAFL side next year.
"They've got a younger list and going good places so I'll try to get on their list and hopefully I'll get them to good places."