By JESS WEBSTER
Photo: Highflyer Images.
Few players would have been happier to land on a NEAFL list this year than Redland midfielder Soul Cormick.
The 20-year-old Sunshine Coast product is reaping the rewards of the opportunity handed by the Bombers to join their club, after years of navigating his way through the Queensland football system.
Cormick first joined the Brisbane Lions Academy when he was 16 and represented Queensland at the National Under-18s Championships.
Once his academy commitments ended, Cormick was approached by Aspley and trained with them over the off-season, but wasn’t offered a place on their 2016 list.
Cormick then joined Sandgate in the QAFL, until the Lions came knocking on the door again to offer the young midfielder the chance to play in their NEAFL side as a top-up player.
It was an opportunity he wasn’t going to knock back, but a year spent between Sandgate and the Lions had it challenges for a teenager desperately wanting to find a place to call home.
“It was a bit all over the place to be honest,” Cormick said.
“I trained with Aspley and then I was playing in the QAFL, and then the Lions picked me up, but I was just a top-up.
“I was just trying to hone in on that first performance for the Lions, and being able to keep getting picked for the rest of the year. But I was still training with Sandgate during the week.
“It was a bit hard to know the ins and outs of the players and all I could do was rock up on game day and try and play my game.
“It had its times where it was a bit difficult. But it was a credit to the Lions – they did make me feel welcome whenever I was there. They really did take care of me.”
Cormick played 12 games for Brisbane in the NEAFL last year and showed enough potential to be awarded the NEAFL team’s Outstanding New Talent award.
After a year battling to earn every NEAFL game he could to set the platform for the future, Cormick’s luck began to turn last off-season when both Aspley and Redland chased his services for the next NEAFL season.
He was over the moon at the opportunities presented to him, eventually choosing Redland as his choice of club.
“Once the academy was over for me I went back to the Sunshine Coast and then I tried to get back into the NEAFL because I knew that was the standard I wanted to play at,” he said.
“Redland made all the effort in the world because they really wanted me to come to their club.
“It was pretty surreal. I aspire to play in the AFL, and for a NEAFL club to pick me up and were interested in me playing for them, I knew it was a good stepping stone.
“The amount of effort you put in – you just really want to get that praise. It felt absolutely amazing.”
Cormick was one of the standouts for the Bombers during pre-season training and was rewarded with his club debut in Round 1 against Canberra.
Last week, Cormick booted three goals in Redland’s breakthrough victory against the Lions to earn a NEAFL Rising Star nomination.
Now that he finally feels settled at NEAFL level, Cormick is excited for what the future holds, and hopes 2017 will be his breakout season.
“Redland has made me feel a part of their family straight away, and I couldn’t have asked for more coming to a new club,” he said.
“Being able to dedicate 110 per cent on just one club this year, it’s definitely a whole lot better than previous seasons.
“The amount of time and energy the coaches have put in to me definitely makes all the difference.”
The Rising Star is awarded to the most promising young talent in the NEAFL competition.
Nominees must be under the age of 21 and played less than 20 senior games (excluding games as AFL academy players) at the start of the 2017 season.
Keep track of all our 2017 nominees here.
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