In the first of a two-parter footy special, Top 8 Roving Reporter finalist Alex Aloschi-Hopfner (Xavier College) interviews Sam Grimley, an up and coming footy star with the Hawthorn Football Club. Alex finds out about Sam and how he discovered his passion for footy and playing the game.
Why did you choose to play football instead of doing something else in your life?
“Well first I was a person who was interested in playing basketball, I started playing basketball from around 9 to 10 years of age and then I stopped playing at around the age of 15. At the age of 18, I tried playing football more than I had before.
“I really enjoyed AFL when I was young, but I wasn’t the best at playing it. My father and my grandfather had played football quite a while ago, so I had some football in my blood. I was aspired to play AFL when I was younger and imagined a few times that I would run out on the MCG with a footy to get ready for a game.”
When you were being drafted, did you want to go to Hawthorn?
“It really didn’t matter to me where I was being drafted as you know you’re going in a team and it’s something to be in.”
At what age was AFL your passion?
“It really became a passion for me at the age of 18, and I became a full on person for football at that age.”
What challenges do you face when playing a game?
“The challenges that I face week by week is who we verse and also the amount of pressure we take. If example, we lose a good player we will need to work very hard during the game and during our training sessions as well.
“As you know 22 players run on the field from one team and that’s what the supporters see, but also they want to see the end result of the game. For us we need our good players to try their hardest on not doing anything bad, nor getting injured.
“When I was a rookie to the Hawks, I spent 4 years sitting in the grandstand watching the boys play the game. During my four years I had grabbed ideas and techniques of playing the game so I could build up my confidence on playing AFL at a high level.
“And whether it’s AFL or VFL, week by week you really need to build your confidence up for the next game.”
Was there a role model that motivated you to play AFL?
“I would say a lot of people have motivated me into playing sports.
“A few would be my father and grandfather, a football player from Richmond FC, and so many more. These people were a massive influence to me, which made me believe that I could play AFL as well. When I started playing on the field a couple of months ago it was a really good feeling to have.
“One last massive influence who was a role model to me on playing AFL was Nathan Buckley. Nathan was a huge influence to me as he was a huge and strong player in AFL, but also because he played for Collingwood, and I was a fan of the Pies.”
Before your AFL career you played basketball. Was there a huge switch from basketball to AFL?
“Well when I first started playing football, for some reason – I was really good at basketball rather than playing football however I wanted to be really good at playing football. Later on I decided to play basketball full time at the age of 9 and stop playing at the age of 15.
“When I was 18 I started to play football very heavily from then on. I played for my school team which was Ivanhoe Grammar. When I was playing back then, I really struggled at playing football. I really wanted to develop my football skills no matter how long it would take me, as footy was something I truly imagined to play.”
Your father who was playing sport at an elite level, was he one factor of a role model to encourage you to play basketball and AFL?
“My father was a very competitive man, and he had a massive influence on not just his sporting career, but he influenced and encouraged me on playing sport, whether it’s basketball, football or any sport. And I really thank him for encouraging me on playing sport.”