DEMON DAYS: Jimmy Toumpas evades Gold Coast’s David Swallow at the MCG. Picture: Michael Klein.
DEMON DAYS: Jimmy Toumpas evades Gold Coast’s David Swallow at the MCG. Picture: Michael Klein.

Toumpas not ready to give up on AFL career

DUMPED Port Adelaide utility Jimmy Toumpas is refusing to give up on his AFL dream, despite failing to cement a spot at two clubs in his six-year career.

The No. 4 pick at the 2012 national draft failed to play an AFL game in a season for the first time this year but says he remains "very confident'' in his ability to play at the highest level.

And he holds hope that a third AFL club will give him another opportunity to prove himself.

"I'm definitely not giving up on the (AFL) dream,'' South Australian Toumpas, 24, said.

"I still feel very confident in my ability. I'm going to take a bit of a break and enjoy the next couple of weeks but when the time's right I'll meet up with my manager and see if there is any interest.

Port Adelaide’s Jimmy Toumpas is tackled by Geelong’s Tom Stewart during an AFLX game at Hindmarsh Stadium in February. Picture: Calum Robertson
Port Adelaide’s Jimmy Toumpas is tackled by Geelong’s Tom Stewart during an AFLX game at Hindmarsh Stadium in February. Picture: Calum Robertson

 

"Hopefully there is because I still feel like I've got a lot to give.''

Midfielder/half-back Toumpas did not play an AFL match this year after managing 10 in his first two years at Port following his trade from Melbourne at the end of 2015.

He played 27 games in his first three years with the Demons, with his best return being 14 in his debut season in 2013.

Toumpas starred for the Port Magpies in the SANFL this season but couldn't break into the AFL side.

"It wasn't like I performed poorly and didn't warrant a spot in the side but I guess there were players ahead of me like Dan Houston and Riley Bonner who performed quite well throughout the year,'' he said.

"I was a realist at the start of the year and knew it was going to be a tough road to get in front of them and unfortunately I didn't manage to do that.''

Toumpas said he wasn't blindsided by his delisting because of regular conversations with coach Ken Hinkley about where he was at.

"It was a bit of a shame it came to an end the way it did but I had a few conversations with Ken throughout the year and it wasn't a complete surprise when it happened,'' he told radio FIVEaa.

 

 

Eagle Scott Lewis celebrates a goal with teammate Jimmy Toumpas in the 2011 grand final.
Eagle Scott Lewis celebrates a goal with teammate Jimmy Toumpas in the 2011 grand final.

Toumpas - a premiership player with Woodville-West Torrens at age 17 in 2011 - admitted he struggled to cope with the pressure of being a high draft pick at a battling club as the Demons finished 17th in his first two years there.

"It was difficult,'' he said.

"I probably didn't realise it at the time but in hindsight it was a high pressure situation.

"I played in round one (of his first season) when I probably didn't deserve a spot and in my first few games our average losing margin was over 100 points, so I was thinking 'is this what AFL footy is?'

"I was coming off not a great pre-season (with some injury problems) and wasn't fit enough and definitely not ready to play AFL footy.

"If I had my time again I would rather earn a spot than be given it but at the time that's where Melbourne was at.

"A lot of players' careers go different ways and mine didn't work out as well as I would have liked.''

Toumpas said if he can't find another AFL home he will likely return to his inaugural SANFL club the Eagles.