He’s a third of the way through his first season as a listed AFL player, and Caleb Graham can already feel a difference in his football.
Graham has played all six NEAFL matches to start the season and is starting to find consistency in his role as a key defender.
“It’s been good fun, even though we haven’t got the results we’ve wanted over the first couple of months, it’s still been good fun,” Graham said.
“(There are) lots of learning to take from the first few rounds and we as a group have got some synergy going.
“That’s obviously helped with our wins and now we’re moving forward and feeling really good about ourselves.”
Hailing from Cairns, the SUNS Academy graduate relocated with his family to the Gold Coast a couple of years ago to focus on his football.
It seems that decision has paid dividends.
“I’m forever grateful for the big move that they (my family) made,” Graham said.
“Mum and Dad have lived in Far North Queensland for their whole lives so for them to make the move down for my footy, I’ll always be grateful.
“And for them still letting me live in their house is also a bit of a bonus so definitely good from them.”
After trialling different roles in his draft year as a pinch-hit ruckman and key forward, Graham says he’s feeling more comfortable returning to his natural role as a defender.
He’s coming up against powerful key forwards each week, but the 18-year-old says his work off the field in the pre-season has set him up for success this year.
“The pre-season especially… five days of gym and five days of running, I feel fitter and stronger already which definitely helps against the bigger bodies in the NEAFL,” Graham said.
“Especially against the AFL clubs that have already had a few years to build their bodies.
“It’s definitely helped me and I feel again more confident going in and feel that I can play and fulfil my role.”
After the win over Aspley on the weekend, the NEAFL team have a bye before taking on the Swans in Round 8 in a curtain raiser at Metricon Stadium.