New Adelaide midfielder Hugh Bond remembers growing up kicking a footy on his family’s former 50-acre hobby farm in Horsham with his older brother, Jack.
A footy was never far from his hand.
“I used to live in Horsham, so started up with AusKick there, but my brother and I used to love going for a kick out the back on the farm,” Bond said.
“I always had a footy in hand and we had some goal posts at the back.”
As he got older, however, rowing caught his interest and Bond not only excelled, but represented Victoria in the sport.
Then, an injury eventually forced him to choose between the two sports and Bond decided to put down the oars and concentrate on footy.
It paid off for the 18-year-old, who was selected by Adelaide at the AFL National Draft on Tuesday night.
“I had a stress fracture last year from overloading with both the sports and it opened my eyes up that I had to pick one and really focus on it,” Bond said.
“Rowing is a pretty gruelling sport, but I’ve always loved footy and the team aspect of it, so that’s why I picked it.”
The on-baller said the moment he heard his name called out on Tuesday night’s AFL National Draft was made even more special by having his family by his side.
“I’m pretty excited, just over the moon and really stoked to end up at Adelaide,” Bond said.
“It was so surreal, I was just speechless, but it was so special to share with my family and mum and dad were the same.
“I had a few of my mates rush over after my name got called out, but heaps of them were at Schoolies, so a fair few of them were at the pub, going crazy there.
“Another one of my mates, James Van Es, got drafted to the Saints, so we went out to his house after and everyone was there, so it was good.”
Bond, who is renowned for his competitiveness, played 12 games for the Rebels this season and represented Victoria Country.
He said he had received messages and phone calls from his new teammates and was excited to get to work at West Lakes.
“I’ve had lots of support from the boys so far, a few calls and lots of texts,” Bond said.
“I can just tell they all really love the Club and that they’re a real tight-knit group and I think they’re stoked to have some new boys on board.
“I can’t put into words how much this means to me, it’s just a dream come true and I can’t wait to get started.”