AFL Draft 2020: Oliver Henry hopeful of joining brother Jack at Geelong
AFL Draft 2020: Oliver Henry hopeful of joining brother Jack at Geelong

Henry hoping to join brother Jack at Geelong

The youngest of three brothers, Oliver Henry would regularly come away from backyard football battles worse for wear.

"I was always looking to impress, but more often than not the young one usually comes running away a bit injured or something," Oliver said.

However, Henry learnt plenty from those backyard battles and still learns plenty to this day from older brothers Jack and Tom.

Jack now plays AFL football for Geelong, while Tom was a national-level athlete and senior footballer in the Geelong Football League before more recently turning his focus to becoming a teacher.

"Jack and Tom pretty much taught me to play footy from an early age, so it's always been a passion of mine to play," Oliver said.

 

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Geelong Falcons draft prospect Oliver Henry (right) is hoping to join his brother, Jack, at the Cats. Picture: Alan Barber
Geelong Falcons draft prospect Oliver Henry (right) is hoping to join his brother, Jack, at the Cats. Picture: Alan Barber

"With Jack now being in the AFL system, he has given me an insight of what it takes to be an AFL player and how to train like one and what work ethic they have.

"So Jack's been a good role model for me to learn off, not just footy skills but a lot of life skills he's taught me.

"He's been one of my biggest role models, along with my older brother Tom."

Like his brothers, Oliver grew up doing athletics alongside football and the family backyard also included a high-jump mat, which got plenty of use.

It is therefore little wonder the mid-sized forward has a good leap on the football field, with speed and power at ground level to match.

"I try to use my athletic background to my advantage," the 18-year-old said.

"I'd say jumping and taking a mark and also kicking goals and intercepting in the backline are the things that I'm better at."

Jack, Oliver and Tom Henry training earlier this year during isolation. Picture: Glenn Ferguson
Jack, Oliver and Tom Henry training earlier this year during isolation. Picture: Glenn Ferguson

Oliver played 15 games for NAB League side Geelong Falcons as a bottom-age player last year - averaging 10 disposals, 4.4 marks and 1.2 goals - and AFL recruiters view him as a player with enormous upside.

"He's a very good player," one recruiter said.

"He's an athletic, exciting forward.

"He can play backline as well, so he's got that versatility and his athleticism is fantastic."

Oliver grew up a Geelong supporter and trained with the Cats - including his brother Jack - during pre-season.

"Jack being there helped as a bit of reassurance, but in that week nothing really went wrong and I didn't have to rely on Jack for support or anything because the club did such a good job making everyone feel as one," Oliver said.

The Cats would be a dream destination come the AFL National Draft and have shown interest in Oliver, but whether he ends up playing with or against his brother remains to be seen.

"It is exciting. I don't know what's going to happen," Oliver said.

 

WHAT SEPARATES MACRAE FROM BROTHER JACK

 

Finlay Macrae had to switch football teams when he was 11.

He started out a Hawthorn supporter, but when his brother Jack Macrae started playing for the Western Bulldogs in 2013 he had no choice but to swap colours.

It was a somewhat regrettable decision as the Hawks went on to win three-straight flags.

But when Jack and the Bulldogs broke through to claim the 2016 premiership, Finlay could not have been happier.

"I missed some premierships but was lucky enough I got the 2016 one," Finlay said.

Finlay and Jack are half-brothers, sharing only the same father.

But they grew up closely together and were regular sparring partners for backyard sporting battles.

"Jack went to Carey Grammar and we lived just around the corner so he spent most of his time with us," Finlay said.

 

Finlay Macrae (left) is hoping to follow in his brother Jack’s footsteps and start a career in the AFL.
Finlay Macrae (left) is hoping to follow in his brother Jack’s footsteps and start a career in the AFL.

"We had a lot of fun growing up playing backyard footy, backyard cricket and all that."

When Jack was drafted to the Bulldogs at the end of 2012, Finlay was too young to fully appreciate it.

But seeing his older brother grow into a premiership player and Bulldogs star in more recent years has helped inspire the younger sibling to follow his path.

"The last couple of years I'm more understanding of what he's been able to achieve and it does make you want it a little bit more," Finlay said.

"This year he's been up at the hub but we've spoken a fair bit on the phone and he's said it's about controlling what you can control as much as I could."

Finlay shone brightly in the Under-17 All Stars game last year and stepped up for NAB League side Oakleigh Chargers when it counted during their finals campaign, logging 22 disposals and a goal in a preliminary final.

Recruiters like the midfielder's stoppage craft and believe he has good football IQ but warn Finlay is no clone of his brother - something that he will also tell you.

"I'd like to think I can kick a bit further. He (Jack) is not the longest kick," Finlay said with a laugh.

"Also having that opposite side of my body is something I pride myself on a fair bit and I'm pretty happy to use it as well."

Finlay has maintained his fitness levels while adding about 3kg of muscle to his light frame this year as he strives to improve his inside game, having largely played on a wing or across half-forward in the past.

He has spoken to the Bulldogs, but is not expecting to join his brother at Whitten Oval given the club will have to match a high bid for star Academy prospect Jamarra Ugle-Hagan.

"I don't think it's looking too great," Finlay said.

"Especially with Jamarra, I don't think they'll have too many picks after that."

 

 

QUEENSLAND TEEN INSPIRED BY LION BROTHER'S RESOLVE

 

- Nick Smart

 

The last time exciting Queensland teenager Blake Coleman played a game of Aussie rules with Brisbane Lions player Keidean, the two brothers were running around at the Wynnum Vikings.

They may soon be doing it in the big time with the younger Coleman a chance to join his older brother at the Lions next week through the AFL national draft.

The speedy forward/midfielder is a Brisbane academy member and the Lions have the rights to match a bid for him should one come.

He has been linked to Collingwood, so it remains to be seen exactly where he might end up.

While he'd love to stay in Brisbane and join the Lions, Coleman said he was prepared to go anywhere.

Brisbane Lions academy prospect Blake Coleman starred for Morningside in the QAFL grand final. Picture: Highflyer Images
Brisbane Lions academy prospect Blake Coleman starred for Morningside in the QAFL grand final. Picture: Highflyer Images

"It would be good if they (Brisbane) did (draft me), but where ever I land wouldn't bother me," he said.

"I just want to get the opportunity to live my dream, so whichever club wants to take me I'm more than happy to go.

"If I were to play with him (Keidean) it would be really cool.

"I played with him a couple of times throughout juniors at Wynnum, so it would be good if it happened.

"I'm actually pretty excited (about the draft) more than anything, I'm not really nervous, at least not yet."

Coleman was born in the Northern Territory, spending his first few years in Barunga, a small community outside of Katherine.

When he was about seven, it was decided the family would move to Brisbane.

"It was just to get a good opportunity with school and a good education and also for footy, because we love footy," Coleman said.

"It's always been a dream for me because I grew up watching it and I'd get excited watching it on TV.

"I just always wanted to be on the field and play like them as well."

The Indigenous talent - who grew up a St Kilda supporter and loved Lenny Hayes and Nick Riewoldt - said watching his brother realise his AFL dream made him believe even more.

 

 

Keidean Coleman, who played five senior games for the Lions this year, was not selected in the 2018 draft but was taken a year later.

"I was really proud of him because he worked really hard and he was overlooked the first year, but he kept at it and had another crack," Blake said.

"He showed he was talented enough and deserving enough to make it.

"It had a big impact on me because I've been with him my whole life, so I believe anything he could do I could also do.

"Him making it has helped me believe."

Coleman had a strong year, playing every senior game for Morningside - minus his academy commitments - and helping the Panthers claim their 10th club QAFL premiership.

He was one of Morningside's best players on grand final day, kicking two goals and taking a spectacular final quarter mark in a scintillating display.

As a Lions academy member, the 18-year-old also got the chance to train with the senior squad early in the year.

"I feel like I could get used to that and fit into that environment."

Originally published as Henry hoping to join brother Jack at Geelong


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