Adelaide SANFL recruit Jay O’Leary has never wanted to look back on his footy career with regret.

And, two years ago, the former Rooster made the decision to try and ignite his SANFL career.

“I did a senior pre-season at North Adelaide in 2018 and I played 11 reserves games but then at the end of the season they told me they didn’t have a spot for me anymore,” O’Leary said.

“I then went back to Broadview and I remember thinking to myself I need to take a step back to step forward.

“I grew in maturity as a person and a player and in confidence at Broadview and worked hard to establish myself.

“Then, a few years back, I wanted to have a go at SANFL level, so I reached out to Meersy (Adelaide SANFL manager Jarrod Meers) but nothing came of it and maybe I wasn’t the right fit at the time, which was fine.”

Fast forward to now and the stars aligned for O’Leary, who in November, signed on with the Crows ahead of their 2024 SANFL campaign.

“Meersy was actually my Year 12 PE teacher and I got a call from him just after last season finished and he said the offer was there and that they’d been looking at me and would love to get me on the list,” O’Leary said.

“I took a little bit of time to think about it because I knew it would affect the captaincy at Broadview and I didn’t want to abandon Broadview.

“But then I thought it’s an opportunity that doesn’t come around everyday, so I’m glad I did get back to him and say I’d love to.

“At the end of the day, it’s just about opportunities and trying to challenge myself at the next level and I don’t want to have any regrets at the end of my footy career.”

O’Leary is one of nine new SANFL signings for the Crows, which includes father-son product Tyler Welsh, Toby Murray, brother of AFL-listed defender Nick Murray, former Central District midfielder Steve Burton and Broadview utility Sam Daniele.

The 25-year-old half-forward said he had enjoyed his first pre-season with the Crows and was keen for the season.

“I’ve learnt a lot about the game and myself and how to improve,” O’Leary said.

“Everyone has been really welcoming, they know who you are and they invest time into you and see how you’re going.

“They give you all the resources and the support to improve and to be the best player and person you can be. That’s been really nice and made the transition over to the Crows really easy.

“I love the professionalism at the Club, I love going to a place where everyone is there for the same reasons and the standard is really high, people are pushing each other to get better.”

Adelaide’s 2024 SANFL campaign kicks off with a match against South Adelaide this Friday and O’Leary is hoping to earn his League debut.

“I’m looking forward to the experience,” O'Leary said. 

“I’ve had a little bit of trial game experience over the past couple of weeks, so each game, I’ve learnt something and I’ve become more comfortable with all the structures and things like that.

“I’m just going to take all the learnings from it. I’m excited to learn, play with players who have a really high standard.”

Adelaide’s Round One game against the Panthers is at Noarlunga Oval on Friday at 2.10pm.