Words of advice that have stuck by him from his biggest supporters played a key role in young ruckman Ethan Read’s name being read out on draft night.
The Palm Beach Currumbin Lions product, who stands a tick over two metres tall, was taken by his hometown club with Pick 9 in Monday night’s NAB AFL Draft.
Read will automatically slide into place as one of the tallest on the SUNS list but also boasts a silky skill set and an aerobic capacity likened to an elite midfielder.
While he admits an element of luck through natural ability, his remarkable running capacity was spurned through advice from Mum and Dad.
“I’ve always worked on my running. I’ve been lucky with a bit of natural ability, but Mum’s always made me do running as has Dad,” Read told SUNS Media.
“They’ve always told me that it’ll pay off one day.
“They would be my biggest influences. They’ve always wanted me to get better and they’ve dedicated a lot of time to making sure I can.”
The 18-year-old has more than just a hard-working mentality to thank his parents, with Mum playing matchmaker for long-time good mate and now SUNS teammate Jed Walter.
The pair have played alongside each other at Palm Beach Currumbin throughout their junior careers, most recently as teammates at the SUNS Academy and in the Allies squad as well.
Things weren’t always as rosy between the pair though.
“I think we’d have been 10? We had a fight, a little bit of an argument. I can’t remember what it was about, but I remember it happening,” Read continued.
“We joined Nippers together. Our mums are best friends and then we just grew from there.”
Fellow Palm Beach Currumbin product Will Graham’s selection at Pick 26 rounded out a special night for the local club, also making the occasion that little extra special for Read.
“Growing up alongside the same players who have been drafted with you is pretty cool. It’s a bit surreal but it’s a cool story. I still can’t wrap my head around it,” Read continued.
While rising through the ranks of the SUNS Academy, an opportunity to work under the tutelage of SUNS ruck Jarrod Witts has been integral to Read’s development.
The young ruck is hanging on to every ounce of knowledge from Witts’ 165-games of on-field experience, as well as leadership qualities from five years as SUNS captain.
“He’s given me some tips and tricks and it’s pretty cool to work with someone like him, with the honours he’s had,” Read continued.
“His leadership off the field as well is really good. He’s always wanting to make people better and his communication on field is great.”