It’s been a very different first week as an AFL footballer for Ned Moyle.
The young ruckman was drafted to the SUNS with pick 5 in the 2021 NAB AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft, but due to the ongoing COVID situation in Victoria is yet to join his new teammates on the Gold Coast.
Instead, the 19-year-old has been living and training in Pottsville, northern New South Wales, under the guidance of club fitness and coaching staff.
It was a hurried goodbye to friends and family as he boarded a plane to New South Wales, moving away from Victoria to commence his AFL career.
To top it off, Moyle, who is currently studying a Bachelor of Commerce, is also in the middle of his university exams for this semester.
But he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s been pretty hectic but it’s been a whirlwind and so much fun,” Moyle said.
“I’m pretty keen (to relocate) – it makes it a lot easier when you’re up on the sunny Gold Coast I can imagine.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity so there’s no complaints here certainly.”
Moyle is a relative newcomer to the AFL talent pathway, having predominately played school football as a teenager.
But after missing out in the national draft at the end of 2020, Moyle has taken some significant strides in his development which saw him launch into the mid-season draft calculations.
“Along the way it was kind of like just playing footy to enjoy it and then work really hard at the same time to get the best out of yourself and take what opportunities that come along the way,” he said.
“It wasn’t really until the start of this year that I thought it was an actual possibility (to be drafted).
“I played a couple of games and went alright then took the opportunities that came my way in the VFL which is when it started to become a reality I guess.”
In 2021 Moyle has played in the NAB League for Oakleigh where he averages 28 hitouts and four tackles per game, as well as Collingwood in the VFL (18 hitouts per game).
It’s his first experience at a higher level of competition, but Moyle hasn’t looked out of place.
“I was certainly quite surprised initially because I hadn’t played NAB League footy until this year or VFL.
“I was surprised with how I was able to compete when I played at the next level.
“It was good because it gave me a lot of confidence and belief in myself to be able to compete at those sorts of levels as well.”
Moyle hopes to join his teammates on the Gold Coast in the next week, pending COVID restrictions.
It’s no surprise who the developing ruck is most keen to brush shoulders with when he arrives.
“You sort of just want to get in to see everyone,” he said.
“But (meeting) blokes like Jarrod Witts the big ruckman, that’s probably for me particularly quite relevant.”
Moyle is eligible to play for the SUNS from this weekend.