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  • Podcast: 2021 Season Review  

WELCOME TO THE MELBOURNE FOOTBALL CLUB - TOM SPARROW


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Screenshot_2018-11-23 Tom Sparrow Pictures and Photos Getty Images.png

Pick 27 after the Dees put a bid on Rhylee West, son of Bulldogs Legend Scott West, and the Bulldogs matched the bid.

Player bio
Former club: South Adelaide
Age: 18
Height: 183cm
Weight: 83kg
Position: Forward
2018 U18 Stats
Games: 4
Goals: -
Avg Kicks: 7.5
Avg Marks: 2.8
Avg Hballs: 3.8

A medium forward/midfielder who is a super competitive with his ability to win the contested ball. He also has the knack of staying in the contest with his excellent recovery skills and agility. His leadership traits were constantly on show for South Australia in their 2018 NAB AFL Under-18 Championships victory. Averaged 21.9 disposals at Under-18 level in the SANFL.

https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/sport/afl/how-tom-sparrow-rose-from-unwanted-to-bluechip-afl-draft-prospect/news-story/1c7898da027c13ec771a9c3857a0553b

“HARD work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard’’.

That is the famous quote from US high school basketball coach Tim Notke that is inspiring South Adelaide draft bolter Tom Sparrow’s insatiable appetite to prove his doubters wrong.

Shattered at missing out on State under-16 selection two years ago and by again being overlooked for last year’s under-17 SANFL futures game, the powerful midfielder is starting to reap the rewards for his manic work ethic by surging up AFL draft boards.

From the small Adelaide Hills town of Scott Creek, Sparrow’s standout second half of the season at school and SANFL under-18 level has seen him draw comparisons to explosive Brownlow Medallist Patrick Dangerfield and emerge as a first-round draft smoky.

“I was pretty devastated at missing that under-16 team because making that side was one of my main goals for the year,’’ Sparrow told The Advertiser.

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South Adelaide’s Tom Sparrow during the U-18s preliminary final between South and Norwood. Picture: AAP Image/Mark Brake

“I was cut from it late and ended up being an emergency but I didn’t play, which was really challenging.

“It really motivated me to work even harder to prove to everyone that I am good and dedicated enough to keep pursuing my dream of playing footy at a high level.

“In a funny sort of way it has probably helped me moving forward, rather than hinder me.

“It made me try to prove a point that I wasn’t just going to go away or shy away from a challenge.

“I used my favourite quote, ‘hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard’, as inspiration to keep working hard.

“I did a lot of extras and I think the only official training sessions I have missed since were when I was on a school camp to Cambodia last year.’’

While SA’s top 2018 draft prospects Jack Lukosius, Izak Rankine and Connor Rozee starred in the under-16 championships two years ago to lead the Croweaters to the national crown, Sparrow was at home thinking what might have been.

He was pleased his home State “won the chockies’’ but immediately set his sights on training even harder and turning his strengths — speed and power — into assets that would help him stand out from the pack.

Now he is doing just that.

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Tom Sparrow takes a strong mark for Prince Alfred College.

“He’s become an animal, an absolute ripper,’’ said SA under-18 coach Tony Bamford, who had no hesitation in selecting Sparrow, 182cm and 81kg, in his AFL under-18 championship-winning side this year.

“Tom’s got that rare combination that every club wants — speed, power and endurance.

“He’s the type of player who wins the ball on the inside but is so powerful he can get on the outside and really hurt the opposition there.

“He is very driven, motivated, diligent and professional. He’ll not only make it as a long-term AFL player but he’ll stand out in his first month of training because of his workrate and toughness.’’

Bamford said he remembers Sparrow, who this year captained Prince Alfred College’s First XVIII team, being “really, really flat’’ when he missed State under-16 selection in the team coached by dual North Adelaide premiership player and former Crow Darel Hart.

“I recall having a conversation with him and his parents and saying the only thing you can do from here is to prove the selectors wrong when you are 18,’’ Bamford said.

“He’s gone whack and done that.’’

While some recruiting scouts have compared Sparrow’s qualities to those of former Crow and current Cat Dangerfield, Bamford says he reminds him of Collingwood’s Levi Greenwood at the same age.

“I coached Levi at Port Adelaide (Magpies) and the similarities between the two are striking,’’ Bamford said.

“They are both tough, strong and combative, they look for body contact and are explosive speed and endurance athletes.

“But as well as Levi has done, Tom will be better.’’

Sparrow has heard the comparisons but says he is modelling his style on star Sydney midfielder Luke Parker.

“He's an inside mid who loves winning contested ball but can go forward and kick goals, which is what I like doing,’’ he said.

Sparrow, who was denied a SANFL league debut with the Panthers this year because of school commitments, has been interviewed by 14 AFL clubs.

And his phone has run hot with player managers wanting to sign him.

“To come from where I have, missing the under-16s and 17s (State teams), and to get drafted would mean a lot to me,’’ said Sparrow, who is an A-grade student eyeing an ATAR score of 90.

“I want to make all my friends and family proud and prove to them that I am good enough.

“I know they are already proud of me but to go one step further would be the cherry on top.’’

 

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5 minutes ago, Wiseblood said:

Classic pick for us - hard working, professional and will give his all for the side.  Love that we are continuing to draft these types as it will pay dividends for us in the short and long term.

Welcome Tom!

Current classic thank gawd... Previous classics include Jordan Gysberts and Lucas Cook, oh and Tom Gilles.

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He seems to have a little bit of a Dayne Swan-like gait to his run from the very little footage I've seen. I like that we've gone for two guys that can roll through the midfield. Need to keep building and replenishing that midfield.

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seems the MFC like to be a bit more left-field than other clubs.  back ourselves in and don't worry about the hype.

who had heard of Howe before we drafted him?

seems like none of the media 'experts' had him in the top 30?

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18 minutes ago, A F said:

He seems to have a little bit of a Dayne Swan-like gait to his run from the very little footage I've seen. I like that we've gone for two guys that can roll through the midfield. Need to keep building and replenishing that midfield.

Agree.  We have relied on Jones for a long time and whilst our reliance on him has diminished, I feel that he has still got in amongst it and made a fair contribution in that area last season.  Hopefully these guys could step up and start playing a role in the guts past Jones and who knows when one of Clarry, Harmes, Brayshaw or even Viney might spend a season out with an ACL or something  (touch wood).

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49 minutes ago, A F said:

He seems to have a little bit of a Dayne Swan-like gait to his run from the very little footage I've seen. I like that we've gone for two guys that can roll through the midfield. Need to keep building and replenishing that midfield.

A sparrow that walks like a swan? Doesn't even sound possible.

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Competes like Jack Viney, runs like Hunty and kicks long like Clarry and doesn't handball!! as he gets clear or has enough power to get a good kick in oh and can intercept like Lever.Phyisique of Hibbo or Maynard.

Great get and will be type to relish elite training standards plus competitive nature of our onballers

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57 minutes ago, 58er said:

Competes like Jack Viney, runs like Hunty and kicks long like Clarry and doesn't handball!! as he gets clear or has enough power to get a good kick in oh and can intercept like Lever.Phyisique of Hibbo or Maynard.

Great get and will be type to relish elite training standards plus competitive nature of our onballers

Leadership of Voss and a leap like Jeremy Howe?

Even still he won’t be in anyone’s round 1 team. We have come a long way.

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