Work hard if you want to kick on
The 15 hopefuls competing in The Recruit don’t know what’s in store for them says the show’s head coach, Mick Malthouse.
Contestants are chasing an elusive dream — to be signed to an AFL club. For one reason or another they have never made it and The Recruit is probably their last chance.
Malthouse played 53 games for St Kilda and another 121 at Richmond, including a Premiership. But it is his coaching success that has made him a legend.
After a stint at Footscray, he coached the West Coast Eagles to 1992 and 1994 Premierships. He got Collingwood into four Grand Finals, winning in 2010.
Malthouse knows the sacrifices these young men are going to have to make if they want to reach the elite level.
“You get robbed of your youth (if you play AFL),” Malthouse says. “If you’ve got outside interests they’re going to (stay that way). If you want to do a degree, it will be four times slower (than if you didn’t play AFL). You are responsible for your life, the club’s reputation and your team’s reputation 24 hours a day.”
Former Hawthorn champion and Fox Footy commentator Ben Dixon is Malthouse’s assistant on The Recruit, Port Adelaide fitness guru Darren Burgess is high performance coach, and sports administrator Leigh Russell is mind coach.
Competitors will be put through a range of physical and team challenges.
Each week, one recruit is eliminated.This year’s batch includes 22-year-old Jason Williams, from Melbourne, an apprentice plumber who reckons complacency stopped him succeeding.
Daniel Cox, a garden labourer from Broome in West Australia, was nearly drafted in 2013 but missed the cut.
Matt Eagles, now 26, is angry at himself because he chose partying over footy.
“It is no accident some players fail (to make AFL standard),” Malthouse says.
“Some is just circumstance — where they lived, what club they were playing at, where they were working, age got away from them. “Don’t blame other people. “The only way forward is working hard. That is fundamental. The other things I believe in greatly are team, friendship and loyalty.
“If you can’t be any of those, move away ... I didn’t want to send a player there (to an AFL club) that was ill-equipped. With good coaching over a period of 12 months you should see a dramatic shift if the player has the right attitude.”
THE RECRUIT, FOX8, TONIGHT, 8.30PM
Mick Malthouse is looking for commitment.