Darling frustrated as Matera destined for Gold Coast glory
Young West Australians Jack Darling and Brandon Matera are destined to become future stars of the AFL – so why is Darling a tad frustrated? The answer: He was born 46 days too late.
While Matera is eligible – and highly likely – to be signed by the new Gold Coast franchise this year as part of their raid on the best 17 year olds whose birthdays fall between January-April, Darling, born on June 16, just misses the cut-off.
To add salt to the wound, the 17-year-old is also too young to take part in November’s national draft.
“It’s frustrating because I was speaking to a few of the Tasmanian boys who just recently got signed up by the Gold Coast,” Darling said.
“There’s a little bit of frustration but nothing I can do about it.”
Darling, who in just his second WAFL league game last week bagged six goals, said he would jump at the chance to link up with Gold Coast.
And with the AFL’s newest club boasting picks 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15 plus the first selection of every subsequent round in the 2010 national draft, Darling may well get his wish — albeit a year later than he would have preferred.
“Gold Coast would suit my lifestyle,” the powerful 90kg forward said.
“It’s pretty laid back and I could do a fair bit of surfing. I reckon it would be a great experience.”
Matera, a talented crumbing forward who starred for WA in the 2009 NAB national 18s championship, made his WAFL league debut last week, gathering 10 possessions and kicking 1.1 for South Fremantle.
The son of former West Coast stalwart Wally Matera and nephew of Eagles Norm Smith Medallist Peter Matera admitted his surname brought extra expectations.
“There is a bit of pressure because of my name but I just try to put that aside and play my own game,” Matera said.
“I can’t play like they did.
“Dad’s my biggest influence at the moment, I go off what he says.
“He’s my biggest critic, I never get a good game.”
Even if Matera is snapped up by Guy McKenna’s Gold Coast this year, he may end up remaining in Perth for the 2010 season to enable him to develop his football further in the WAFL.
While Darling and Matera will line up on opposite ends of the field when West Perth tackle South Fremantle on Saturday, it seems only a matter of time before the talented pair spearhead Gold Coast’s charge into the AFL.
AAP jsc/gc© AAP 2013