The gruelling truth of making it as a mature ager: Collingwood rookie’s story of persistence

COLLINGWOOD rookie Brody Mihocek has revealed the hardships he faced, and ultimately overcame, in finally securing a spot on an AFL list.

And in doing so, he has painted a very gruelling yet typical picture of what all mature age recruits must endure to realise their football dreams.

While Mihocek, 25, made the All-Australian team in his draft year, poor testing at the draft combine turned off a number of interested clubs.

“With my draft testing, it didn’t go as well as I would have liked,” Mihocek told SEN.

“It was due to my speed, so maybe on the day I stuffed up a few things.

“It wasn’t a good look, but I thought someone would still possibly give me a chance on a rookie list.”

Little did Mihocek know another seven years would pass before he became an AFL-listed player.

It was a dream he never gave up on, but one that became increasingly taxing as the years continued to tick by, as he combined work and footy.

Brody Mihocek claimed Port Melbourne’s 2017 best and fairest. Photo: Graham Denholm/AFL Media/Getty Images
Brody Mihocek claimed Port Melbourne’s 2017 best and fairest. Photo: Graham Denholm/AFL Media/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

“It’s full on,” Mihocek said.

“You’re putting in the same amount of hours as the AFL. You do your full time job for 40 hours a week and either before or after work you’re doing something.

“It’s an every day thing you have to train.

“I was lucky with the job in a warehouse I had, they looked after me and helped me out with all my footy commitments.”

Mihocek spent his first year after school in Tasmania, where he saved up the funds to move to Victoria. The following year he played with Maribyrnong Park before being picked up by VFL club Werribee, where he remained for two seasons.

For the past three years he has been under the tutelage of AFL legend Gary Ayres at Port Melbourne, where his best football at full back has been on display.

Mihocek, Port Melbourne’s 2017 premiership defender and best and fairest winner said he had put all his “eggs in one basket with Collingwood” before this year’s rookie draft.

“I went about playing with Port and won the premiership, and then got a phone call from Collingwood,” Mihocek said.

“It was the only team at the time, but it didn’t really matter to me because only one team can pick you up in the end.”

Mihocek follows in the footsteps of Port Melbourne star Sam Dwyer, who was drafted by Collingwood in 2013 at the age of 26.

Dwyer went on to play 39 games for the club before returning to the Borough in 2016.

Mihocek, who is 192cm and 97kg, is hopeful he can have similar success.

“I’m tough to play against, strong in the air, am aggressive at the ball and play for the team.”

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