Draft pick for Noah
The Gown household in Drouin was a mixture of AFL followers including Carlton, Melbourne and Hawthorn but on a cold wet footy style day on Friday red and black was the colour of the moment when Noah was drafted to Essendon.
Nine days after his last VCE exam and on the day of his St Paul’s Anglican Grammar School valedictory dinner Noah landed a job in his chosen career, football at the elite level.
At 2.17pm in a long drawn out process he became pick number 60 for Essendon.
The Gippsland Power dynamic forward has had an unusual route to the draft, having played only one game with his home club Warragul.
His quest for AFL only began this year moving across from basketball which he had played for many years at the elite level.
When the family was living in Garfield, Noah played under 10s and 12s in the Warragul and District Junior Football League followed by a season in the under 13s with Warragul Industrials.
He enjoyed the time there with his mates from both St Ita’s Primary School and later Marist Sion College, but basketball was beckoning.
He was selected in the Victorian Junior Basketball League and made the under 16s national team. When part of the national performance program it was made clear it was to be basketball with no footy.
Basketball took Noah across the world playing in America and Europe. He played in under 16 and under 18 state teams. When Victorian country and metropolitan basketball merged Noah was selected in the under 20s national basketball team as an emergency in February. He made the youth league at Dandenong Rangers and was also part of their SEABL squad.
He started playing a few footy games with mates at Moe and when he was invited to try out for Gippsland Power suddenly it was both basketball and football on the sporting side and year 12 VCE making for a very tight schedule.
The decision loomed when Noah had to play in a basketball game in Dandenong and a practice game for Gippsland Power at Garfield. He chose footy and didn’t look back. “It was a tough decision but once I’d made it I was committed to footy,” he said.
Fortune favours the brave and it turned out to be the right one when his talent was recognised with Power’s best and fairest award.
Noah said it wasn’t an easy decision to make because “I still love basketball but I am glad I made the decision.”
One of the highlights of his year was sharing the experience with his grandfather Ray Biffin who played for Melbourne in the 1960s. Ray not only got a football career from Melbourne but also a wife. Helen is the sister of Frank Davis who captained Melbourne when Ray played.
Ray saw Noah play every game this year. A highlight for them was catching up on Mondays after weekend games and Ray offering some sage advice.
Noah said it was a wonderful experience sharing his football dreams with his pop, who he sees as one of his biggest mentors.
For mum Lisa Biffin the experience has been almost as difficult as it has been for Noah.
A self-confessed basketball tragic, Lisa said it had been Noah’s decision to head down the football path and once he had made it she and Noah’s father Anthony supported him entirely.
The family was nervous heading into Friday. There was a mixture of nerves with the questions would he be selected and where would he go looming large.
While Lisa wanted to see him drafted, she wasn’t keen to see him head interstate so she was over the moon when a Melbourne based club picked him up.
And there is little time for Noah to prepare for the season ahead. Saturday was spent with welfare staff from Essendon as he prepared for where he would live and the other issues that go with signing up.
Yesterday he headed to the club for his first day of work.
Noah is realistic he knows he is on the list and now it’s up to him to begin the hard work. He has a list of philosophies and priorities laminated and stuck on the shower for him to read every day. No doubt that will be the first item he’ll pack.
Younger brother Will has been selected for Gippsland Power next year and already started his training program, ensuring one thing Ray will be busy next season with two grandsons playing across the state and nationally.
At home in Drouin after the national draft is the Gown family Anthony, Ella, Will, Noah (with his Gippsland Power best and fairest award), Jacob and Lisa.
Daniel Milner formed part of the Australian team to secure another International Six Day Enduro world title.
Noah Gown with proud grandparents Helen and Ray Biffin of Garfield.