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Matt Parker's draft dream

Parker's rapid rise from amateur football to the AFL. - St Kilda Saints
Parker's rapid rise from amateur football to the AFL.
I want to make a name for myself, I want other people to look up to me and be an inspiration to people.
Matt Parker

Matt Parker is not your typical wide-eyed draftee.

He’s not the groomed, media-trained 18-year-old football clubs have become accustomed to selecting at the NAB AFL Draft.

But it’s his unique pathway to the AFL, and deep understanding of what the opportunity means, that has him ready to make his mark at the elite level.

A little more than two years ago, Parker was playing amateur C-grade football in Perth.

WATCH: Matt Parker's press conference

“I was sitting at home one day and thought to myself, ‘where am I going to be in 10 years? I don’t want to be this person’,” he told reporters at RSEA Park on Thursday.

I want to make a name for myself, I want other people to look up to me and be an inspiration to people.”

Parker admitted that when it came to amateur football, he “didn’t really take it seriously”, but that all changed when he decided to try his hand at South Fremantle in the WAFL.



The indigenous forward was forced to prove himself before breaking into the Bulldogs’ senior side at the back end of the 2017 season.

The Saints recruiting staff had already identified Parker as a player to watch before he turned heads in 2018.

The 22-year-old booted 27 goals and averaged 4.2 tackles per game, all the while digging holes for an underground gas pipe company to pay the bills.

So when the Perth native was taken at pick No. 47 by the Saints in the 2018 Draft, it represented a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

PHOTOS: Training

“I was pretty lucky to get picked up so quickly, and that’s just (due to) all the hard work,” he said.

“I just wanted to take my talent somewhere, and look where we are now.”

And Parker’s determination to make something of himself starts under his own roof.

“The biggest motivation is my partner and my little boy,” he said.

“They just took me to new heights, and I see different things in life now.

“It was always a dream for me to play AFL footy. Now I’m here, now I’ve just got to work extra hard.”