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Good mates follow familiar path to the AFL
Written on the 15 February 2016 by scotch
Ben Nelson admits to sometimes digging a calculator out of his golf bag to add up his scorecard.
So the former Carlton and Crows player and Sturt captain passes on working the odds on how two of his graduates from the Scotch College football program beat the AFL draft lottery.
James Rose and Jordan Dawson, good mates at Scotch and in life, have in the past four years aligned their career paths from college football to SANFL league debuts at Sturt and now an impending AFL partnership at Sydney.
"It's pretty crazy," says Rose, a second-round draftee (No. 37) in 2014 who last season sampled two AFL games as a Swan.
"It's worked out pretty well," adds Dawson, a fourth round call (No. 56) at last year's AFL national draft.
Rose and Dawson did have their planets align with a fair bit of luck and some significant nudging from Nelson, now in his fifth year at the Scotch program. Rose was at Scotch from Year 8; Dawson became a boarder from Robe in Year 11.
"And they came through two years at Scotch as good mates not just team-mates," says Nelson.
Rose was zoned to Sturt. Dawson was transferred from Glenelg to Sturt on Nelson's shrewd guidance. And the extra bit of luck as noted by former Essendon player Shane Radbone, another Sturt and Scotch boy is the year's gap in Rose and Dawson's birth dates ensured the promising forwards did not compete for AFL contracts in the same draft. Rose was born on April 16, 1996; Dawson on April 9, 1997.
"For two mates to go the same way to the same AFL club is a great result," says Radbone.
Dawson, who put himself on the AFL radar last year in his SANFL debut with Sturt with his 25 touches against Port, certainly appreciates following Rose to Sydney.
Rose admits: "I struggled with homesickness in my first year in Sydney. I had no one to go to and had to start my own network of friends there. Jordan has slotted into that straight away."
Adds Dawson: "James has shown me the ropes. He's always there to help out. If there is a question, James has the answer because he's already asked it himself."
-- original article by Michelangelo Rucci appeared in The Advertiser, 15 February 2016. Photo: Tait Schmaal
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