Adam Spackman Gets His Chance With The Lions

Tuesday, 16 December, 2008

Adam Spackman, a Hervey Bay teenager turned Morningside (AFLQ) star and State representative, has become the 16th member of the Queensland U18 squad of 2006 to graduate to AFL ranks.

Nineteen-year-old Spackman officially became a 2009 rookie with the Brisbane Lions via today’s NAB AFL Rookie Draft after a stellar 2008 campaign with Morningside in the AFLQ Velocity Sports Cup.

The super-fit small defender/midfielder was the only Queensland newcomer to the AFL system and the first Hervey Bay product to win recognition at this level since former Carlton player Brett Backwell, now a competition standout with Glenelg in the South Australian National Football League.

And that despite playing soccer in his youth and not taking up AFL football until 2003.

In other Queensland draft news, the Brisbane Lions also confirmed the retention of Queenslanders Daniel Dzufer, Joel Tippett and Pat Garner as rookies, and Haydn Kiel, cast aside by the Lions after a two-year rookie stint, was given another chance with AFL premiers Hawthorn.

Brad Howard, a two-year senior list player at St.Kilda who signed a new two-year contract in July before being officially de-listed in October, was taken back by the Saints as a 2009 rookie.

Chris Smith, who has spent the past six weeks training with Fremantle in the hope of gaining a third rookie contract, was cut loose and is tipped to return to play with Mt.Gravatt in the AFLQ State League next year.

Also of local interest, former Labrador and Queensland forward Daniel Stewart, runner-up in the 2007 NAB AFLQ Rising Star Award, won a rookie list spot with Port Adelaide after playing the 2008 season with North Adelaide in the SANFL.

And ex-Lions listee and West Adelaide junior Chris Schmidt, de-listed in October, won a rookie spot with the Adelaide Crows.

Spackman was told of his Lions rookie listing on 1 December after the NAB AFL National Draft and has been training with the club since 3 December but only today did it all become official.

Mark Browning, AFLQ Talent Manager, said Spackman’s rookie listing was “a sensational reward for effort” by the 2004 winner of the AFL Bundaberg/Wide Bay Under 17 League B&F Medal.

“He took a giant punt when he relocated to Brisbane to do Year 12 at St.Peter’s College in 2006. It was the most important year of his schooling but he was prepared to back himself to give himself every chance with his football,” said Browning.

“Everyone at the school says how sensational how was and it’s a fantastic story of a young guy who has persevered and perservered,” he said.

Spackman, a student at Kawungan State School and Hervey Bay High School before heading to Brisbane, played with the Australia Post Queensland U18 Scorpions in 2006 under former Brisbane Lions triple premiership  but was an emergency for the national carnival.

According to Browning, he was “shattered” at the time but has since worked tirelessly, first with the 2007 Queensland U18 side and this year with Morningside to earn his opportunity with the Lions.

He was among Queensland's best players at the 2007 National U18 Championships, where in the three championship games he had a run-with role with three future AFL players -  Hawthorn 2008 premiership ace Cyril Rioli, Sydney's Craig Bird and Brisbane's Tom Collier.

And he had an outstanding 2008 season with the Panthers, earning selection in the Queensland State Open side against Western Australia in Townsville in June before a fine finals campaign topped off by brilliant performance in a losing grand final side.

He was also fourth in the 2008 NAB AFLQ Rising Star Award behind Mt.Gravatt’s Rohan Bail, recently drafted to Melbourne, Southport’s Dayne Beams, drafted to Collingwood, and Broadbeach’s Dayne Zorko, the Queensland U18 captain of 2007.

Spackman joins a stellar list of players to graduate from the 2006 State U18 side, which won the national U18 division two title undefeated.

Already captain Albert Proud, vice-captain Ricky Petterd, deputy vice-captain Brent Renouf, David Armitage, Scott Clouston, Dzufer, Shaun Hampson, Rhys Magin, Sam Reid, Kurt Tippett, Gavin Urquhart and Jesse White have played AFL football, and Kiel, Chris Smith and Gavin Grose have been AFL rookies without playing at senior level.

Ironically, Magin and Reid were also emergencies for the national carnival before playing in 2007.

Spackman, who had worked  as a trainee with the Brisbane Lions AFL Shop this year, had earlier represented Queensland at U16 level from Hervey Bay in 2004.

He was also a South Queensland cricket representative in 2004, was his school age athletics champion every year from 1998 to 2005, and also a local representative soccer player in Hervey Bay.



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