By Russell Bennett
“At the end of my career, I just want to be able to say I’ve done everything I could do to make it – that’s working as hard as I can, making those sacrifices, and just dedicating myself to my footy.”
That, single quote from Officer young-gun Callum Porter sums him up perfectly.
The 18-year-old has an insatiable appetite for excellence – an unflinching resolve in his relentless pursuit to be everything he can be.
It’s a quality – a competitive edge – that sets him apart and has the outgoing Gippsland Power vice-captain on the verge of AFL draft selection.
More than just about anyone, he knows the true value of hard work. He was named in the initial Vic Country squad this year but didn’t make the final side.
But instead of feeling dejected, it only served to spur him on to winning the Power’s time-honoured best and fairest award.
Following his brilliant 2017 campaign, he’s also gone on to showcase his talents at the state combine and even interviewed with a pair of AFL clubs.
“You have to be honest because if they’re asking you certain things they probably already know the answer and they’ve got a pretty good grasp on your footy because they’ve been watching you for a long time,” he said of the AFL recruiters.
“A lot of the questions, even the curly ones they ask, you wonder why they’d ask it, but I think they’re just trying to see how you respond when you’re thrown something a bit left of centre. It’s a good gauge of your self-awareness and how well you know yourself and your game.”
Porter has a remarkable maturity beyond his years. It’s another trait of his that sets him apart, and has him well on the path to success.
“No one can have a perfect season – I think you’re always going to have a bad game here and there – but I think I was fairly consistent,” he said looking back on his 2017 campaign.
“Regardless of what point of the season it was, my focus has just been on playing to the final siren.
“Even if we were out of games in the second half I’d always try and push myself to stay relentless and not let the scoreboard dictate how I went about the contest.
“In terms of the draft, it’s just been about keeping a pretty level head because so many players nominate for the draft each year and there’s only that 80-odd spots.
“Realistically you have to keep a pretty level head because there are no guarantees on draft night.
“Whichever opportunity you get, whether that is on draft night or in the VFL or wherever you end up, it’s just about putting your best foot forward.”
The AFL National Draft will be held at the Sydney Showgrounds on 24 November, with the Rookie and Pre-Season drafts to follow on the 27th.