Brett Eddy graced the SANFL with his remarkable goal sense at South Adelaide before being drafted by Port.
Yet, the sharpshooter from Victoria almost ended up at Central District.
Jack Hudson: You grew up in Victoria – what was your childhood like?
Brett Eddy: I grew up in South Gippsland, my parents were dairy farmers. So, I grew up on a farm with three sisters.
Dad played a good level of cricket, so I grew up loving cricket – dad played with the country Victorian team.
When you grow up in a small country town, you play several sports whether it’s footy, cricket, basketball or squash.
You did a bit of everything when you grew up in the country.
That was good growing up, I was very active on the farm and playing heaps of sports at school.
JH: When was your first game of footy?
BE: I did the equivalent of Auskick back then, but my first official game was for Foster Football Club in the under 15s at the time.
I was about grade five, so I was 10 or 11-years-old playing in that.
JH: Further down the track you played for a few clubs in the VFL. What was that like?
BE: It was good mate.
At the end of 2008 I moved to Melbourne, and thought I’d give VFL a crack as an 18-year-old.
I went to play for Sandringham for the 2009 season, and we lost the VFL Reserves Grand Final to Box Hill.
My former team-mate Joel Cross played for them.
In 2010, I did a pre-season with Sandringham again, but I broke my ankle in a round two clash and had three-and-a-half months off.
I decided to go back to Foster for the rest of the year, my home club, while my ankle healed.
I was lucky enough to win a premiership there with a few schoolmates.
I thought I wanted to give it another crack, so I went to the Collingwood VFL.
I had a good mate down there, and he got me in contact with the coach Tarkyn Lockyer.
I mentioned I wanted to give it another crack and I played for them in 2011.
JH: You injured your ACL in that year, how frustrating was that for you?
BE: I went through the state screening around that year, and round 14 I did my knee.
It was tough with the knee, obviously having something you loved doing taken away from you, it was tough.
I realised I was 21-years-old, so if I don’t fix this properly, my sports going to suffer for the next decade, so I had to do the rehab.
I took the full 12 months, I was quite fortunate I was with Collingwood in the (then) Lexus Centre.
I was fortunate to have those resources to help with my rehab.
I had a year off for all of 2012 with my knee.
I got a call from Central District originally at the end of 2011 from Roy Laird, and he asked if I was interested in coming over.
I said I’m only two months into my knee reconstruction, there’d be no point in coming over just to do rehab at Elizabeth the whole time.
I said to give me a call back the year after and I’d have a think about it.
At the end of 2012, I hadn’t played for a while and he gave me a call and asked if I was up to it.
I gave a friend of mine, Xavier Gotch, who was at South (Adelaide) at the time a call and said what’s the SANFL like and reached out to him to have a chat.
He got Neil Sharpe, who was the footy manager at South onto me, and he said if you’re thinking about coming over, come and have a chat with us.
I had a chat with them, and it made sense to go to South instead of Centrals.
I decided to move across, pack up my car and give SANFL a crack.
I think it’s the best football outside of the AFL.
JH: How hard was it for you to just up and move to South Australia?
BE: I was working in the corporate world at a bank in Melbourne, I wanted a bit of a change.
I thought I’d go to Adelaide and give footy a real crack, I was only 22 at the time so I was relatively young.
Everyone I had spoken to said SANFL is probably the best footy outside the AFL, so I thought why not?
I had no responsibilities; no girlfriend, no house, no mortgage. So, why not go across and give it a crack and meet new people?
I did that and stayed there for five to six years and moved back the start of last year.
JH: The SANFL went very well for you – how did you enjoy your time at South Adelaide?
BE: South was great, I missed the 2012 season with my knee, so it took a while for me to click.
We had a coach called Ron Fuller at the time, although he had a very successful career at Woodville-West Torrens, he got the sack midway through the 2013 season – as our form was bad.
He and I clashed a few times on a few different things, it is what it is.
The first year was tough, then ‘Gotchy’ (Brad Gotch) came in and we made a few finals, it was a reasonable effort for four or five years there.
I really enjoyed my time at South, they’re a good club, there’s no cricket on the footy grounds with SANFL clubs, which helps with pre-season.
Noarlunga is 20 minutes away (from the Adelaide CBD), and I think it’s a great set-up they have down there, they really tap into the local community which holds them in good stead.
JH: You won the Ken Farmer Medal twice. How important was that to you?
BE: Not really.
I was six goals ahead in 2014 with one game remaining.
I went goalless in the last game and Michael Wundke kicked eight in the last game to win that one.
I was around the mark there for four to five years, and to get a couple…I would’ve liked to win a flag in 2016 when we got knocked out in straight sets.
With the medals, if your team’s winning and you’re playing good enough footy, you’re going to be around the mark with goals.
It’s good to look back on, a little bit of individual success there.
JH: You were eventually drafted by Port Adelaide. Did you ever think you’d get a chance at AFL level?
BE: Not as years went by.
As I was 20, 21-years-old playing VFL I thought if I had a good year I’d get looked at.
After the first few years at South, I thought as a 24, 25-year-old, it’s not going to happen.
I had given up on that and focused my areas on like work and studies, but obviously, I had a chat with Port during the 2016 season.
At the moment you stop thinking about it, it happens.
I was grateful for the opportunity for the one year, I would’ve loved to still be there and play a few more games, but it is what it is.
The AFL industry is brutal, but I was grateful for the opportunity from Port.
JH: You played a JLT Community Series game at South Adelaide against Hawthorn. How did you feel playing back at South with Port at AFL level?
BE: I felt a little bit comfortable, I was familiar with it.
I played all three JLT matches, and the one at South I had a decent game, and familiar surroundings to get back to the ground where you spent four days a week for the last five years.
I know the ground well, but we played well that day, so it made me look a bit better than what I played, really.
JH: You made your AFL debut against Sydney weeks later. What was it like going into it?
BE: It was tough, we hadn’t won up there in 12 or 13 years.
To finally get a win up there was good, Travis Boak’s 200th game – which was good to get a win for the captain.
It was a great experience going up there, and it was my childhood dream to play AFL, and to contribute in a little way to a win.
You work hard over an AFL pre-season, and you’re keen to get into it.
It was a great experience to play out on that ground, against some really good players and alongside some other great players.
JH: You played in a Showdown against the Adelaide Crows not too long after. There was an ‘Eddy’ chant around the ground, what were you feeling when that happened?
BE: That was funny.
I walked past Eddie Betts at three-quarter-time, and he said to “look after the pocket for me.”
Which was a great bit of banter.
We lost that game, and it was my last AFL game, so, it is what it is.
It was exciting to have 55,000 people chanting that, it was a bit bizarre.
I don’t really know what to say about it, but it’s something to smile at when you look back.
JH: Later in the year you played against Sturt in the SANFL grand final. What was it like playing in the SANFL against your former team-mates, and what do you remember about that day?
BE: I played against South twice that year, footy’s footy.
When you cross that white line, it doesn’t matter what jumper you wear, you’re competitive, you want to win.
From that point of view, it was a bit weird seeing those familiar faces out on the field and playing against them, but it is a business and you play footy.
Grand final day went quick – we lost by a point and I played horrible.
It wasn’t the result I wanted coming into the day, but you look back and you think you could’ve done this, or that, but it was a disappointing day to fall so short and play so bad.
If you had your time again, you’d try and do different things, the day goes quick.
The whole week you’re hitting training and you’re trying not to play the game in your head, but naturally, you do.
It was a real tight arm-wrestle that game, it was low-scoring.
It was a sad day to not win a flag.
JH: Now you’re back in Victoria with Vermont. What has that been like?
BE: It’s great, two of my best mates have been playing there for five years.
I always thought when footy’s finished up I’d move back to Melbourne for work opportunities.
They had fallen a few short, so it was a smooth transition to playing local footy and the corporate world.
We were lucky enough to win a flag last year, and I also came across with a guy called Andrew Ainger, who played a fair bit of SANFL footy.
I’ve been mates with him since I was in Adelaide.
The club’s good, they look after you well.
We also play in the Eastern Football League, which is probably the best football outside the VFL in Melbourne.