There were many days where he didn’t think his AFL dreams would ever eventuate which only made the day he was officially listed by the Gold Coast SUNS sweeter for Brodie McLaughlin.
McLaughlin became the club’s second 2023 pre-season supplementary selection on Wednesday, fulfilling a lifelong ambition for the 25-year-old.
Plagued by injuries throughout his career, the versatile forward says it was a surreal moment to learn alongside his teammates that he was one giant step closer to an AFL debut
“It’s definitely still sinking in. I can’t put it into words,” McLaughlin said.
“To find out the news in front of all the players and staff was pretty special
“Calling Mum was extra special too. She started crying instantly when I told her.”
The versatile forward has had his fair share of obstacles to the AFL, breaking his leg in 2019 and suffering a back injury 2021.
“The journey has been very long with plenty of setbacks. It’s been pretty hard for many, many years having that dream, it never seemed like it was working,” he added.
“To have some reward for all the work is awesome.
“There have been many nights where I didn’t think it would happen and many tears with broken bones and what not.
“I’m over the moon for it to finally and happen and I can’t wait to get stuck in and see what I can achieve, and what this group can achieve.”
McLaughlin joins teammates Jed Anderson and James Tsitas as SUNS players signed during the Supplemental Selection Period (SSP) over the last two seasons.
Tsitas earned an AFL debut in 2022 and McLaughlin is intent on doing the same in SUNS colours.
“We have an awesome group, and a health one as well so there’s plenty of competition,” McLaughlin added.
“The group of guys are awesome. They’re a really driven group which I am too so I feel like I fit in with the ambitions of this group.
“It’s been an incredible and tough pre-season but I’m feeling the best I ever have so I’m hoping to debut as soon as I can.”