Port Melbourne midfielder Chris Cain is hopeful AFL clubs continue drafting mature age state league players as he clings to hope of realising his dream.
Cain, regarded as one of the VFL’s premier midfielders, turns 27 this year and although he admits his “time’s probably past” in terms of the AFL clock, the lively Port Melbourne on-baller continued to impress onlookers in the VFL state league match on Saturday with 30 disposals.
“I think you sort of have to not give up as well because you never know what could happen,” Cain said.
Cain, who has blossomed right under the eyes of many AFL club recruiters, has watched his best mate Sam Dwyer get picked up by Collingwood in 2012 at 26.
Dwyer, who was influential on arrival, has gone on to play 25 matches with the Pies including four this season.
Brett Goodes (Western Bulldogs), James Podsiadly (Adelaide) and Ian Callinan (ex-Adelaide) were all 28 when they got a surprise call-up in their respective AFL drafts.
Orren Stephenson, a handy back-up ruckman at AFL level, was 29 when plucked by the Cats before Richmond gave him another shot.
Cain had arguably the best season of his career last season but was again, overlooked.
“I wasn’t really expecting a great deal, I’ve obviously learnt not to get too excited over talk here and there. If something was to happen, I’d be rapt but if not I’ll keep trucking along,” he said.
Cain said he and other older team-mates at Port have been revived this season given the influx of young midfielders to the team. Port Melbourne is undefeated and on top of the ladder; perhaps testament to veteran coach Gary Ayres’ strategies.
“I’m getting a bit more attention than what I have been over the last few years and I’ve been working through that and we’ve got enough midfielders through there now to chop and change,” he said.
“We’re probably not as reliant on our top few players as we have for the last few years. To have some of the younger guys step up in the midfield and give a lot of the older guys a bit of a rest has been good.”
Cain believes forward Julian Rowe could be an x-factor for AFL recruiters to consider at the end of the season considering his blistering start.
Rowe, a former Collingwood rookie, just turned 29 but is considered to be a late bloomer.
He was rampant in the state game on Saturday and kicked five goals for Port against Box Hill a week earlier.
“He’s [Rowe] having a decent year so you never know. He’s that sort of x-factor player who some clubs might want so you never know what might happen,” he said.
Sandringham’s Adam Cockie (25), Footscray’s Nick Lower (27) and Williamstown’s Scott Clouston (27) and Cameron Lockwood (26) are other top prospects that are considered to be racing against time for a shot at the big time.
Of course, history suggests there is still time for other prospects such as Box Hill’s David Mirra (23), Port Melbourne’s Josh Scipione (24), Bendigo’s Alik Magin (23) and Werribee’s Scott Sherlock (24). But the clock is ticking.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.