Not much phases Elijah Hollands.
Heading into the 2020 NAB AFL Draft and touted as one of the best prospects available, Hollands wasn’t going to be putting any more expectations or pressure on himself.
He just wanted to be given his chance on an AFL list.
So when his name was called at pick seven, bound for the Gold Coast, the reaction in the room from Hollands, friends and family was simply electric.
“When my name got read out to the SUNS it was just an overwhelming feeling of joy,” Hollands said.
“This is what I’ve wanted to do for such a long time now and realistically all I wanted was the opportunity and the fact I’ve been given that now, I’m just so over the moon and I just want to get up to the Goldy and get started.”
Hollands said his first impression of the club and the people involved was as good as could have been imagined.
“A heap of the lads have reached out which has been great,” he said.
“I sort of noticed throughout the year that the SUNS boys were really starting to build a really good culture and that was just shown again yesterday and today with the messages that have flown through.
“It’s been very comforting and I know walking in there tomorrow arvo I’ll be welcomed in with open arms.”
In some respects, the disrupted Victorian football season this year was beneficial for Hollands.
The 18-year-old injured his ACL in February, but with little to no footy being played due to COVID, he’s barely missed any playing time.
Instead Hollands was able to spend more time in the gym building strength.
Prior to the injury, Hollands had played for Vic Country in the 2019 NAB AFL Under 18 Championships alongside SUNS teammate Sam Flanders.
He also spent time training with the Oakleigh Chargers alongside Noah Anderson and Matt Rowell.
He said he was thrilled to be reuniting with those players and form part of an exciting nucleus of young players at the club.
“I really couldn’t be happier in terms of the way the club’s going,” he said.
“I think the way the culture has been set is something that I really want to get on board with and I’m super stoked that I have that opportunity to be a part of it now.
“I want to make a contribution off-field as much as on-field as well… I believe in being a good person as well as a good footballer.”
Hollands is due to arrive on the Gold Coast on Friday night.
He will spend a week living with Josh Corbett and being around the club before returning home for Christmas, then relocating to the Gold Coast in early January.