Harry SheezelCategoriesBlog Elite Lifestyle Players Training Program

Prepare Like a Pro Melbourne based Ambassador – Harry Sheezel

Considered to be one of the more naturally-talented footballers in the 2022 AFL draft, Harry Sheezel is a name that will be well-known to most footy fans by the end of the season. The 18-year-old from Melbourne has already shown he has what it takes to compete at the top level, having been named in the 2022 NAB AFL Academy – Australia U18 Team that took on Collingwood’s VFL team last month.

 Sheezel is a powerful and athletic midfielder who is capable of playing both inside and outside. He has good speed and agility and is known for his hard work and determination. Sheezel is also a very good kick, which will no doubt be a valuable asset at the next level.

Sheezel is expected to be one of the first players—a surefire 10 draft pick—taken in the 2022 AFL draft, and he will no doubt be a big part of whatever team he ends up playing for. It will be exciting to see what he can do at the highest level, and footy fans should keep an eye on this young star in the making.

He is a full-time member of the Sandringham Dragons, and has made the most of his opportunity this season. Sheezel has set his claim as a rotating midfielder and has significant upside as a player who can win matches with his own boot after scoring 14 goals in six games, including bags of four and six goals.

Sheezel’s goal-kicking ability is well-known at this point, as seen by the aforementioned NAB League statistics. The deft medium type was also a standout in his lone Vic Metro appearance against the Young Guns, where he was thrust into the AFL Academy’s midfield late in the game on a day when his team’s forwards struggled. If his 28 disposals and six goals against Tasmania were a breakthrough game, his 37 touches against Northern in Round 9 served as the ideal audition for a permanent midfielder spot.

An Inspiration to the Jewish Community

Sheezel was only 16 when he experienced playing at the senior level, suiting up for his club Ajax in Victoria’s amateurs’ tournament last year. He earned the right, having emerged from the juniors program as the clear-cut best and brightest. During his debut, he kicked four goals from full-forward against Fitzroy at Brunswick Street Oval, including one goal that he described as “pretty good”.

“I had a bit of a day out,” Sheezel said in an article on AFL.com.au. “Playing juniors with Ajax was massive my whole life and it was so much fun to play with people from the community in the senior side as well.”

It was also during that time when Sheezel began feeling an immense outpouring of support for his football journey from the Jewish community. It also helped a great deal that Ajax is based in Melbourne’s inner south-eastern suburbs and is the country’s only Jewish football club.

With Jewish representation in the AFL historically low, Sheezel figures to be a role model for aspiring Jewish footballers not just in Melbourne, but also around the country. He is an AFL player of the future that the community can rally behind and one that could potentially inspire the next generation of Jewish footballers. To date, only Todd Goldstein (North Melbourne), Ezra Poyas (Richmond and Melbourne), and Julian Kirzner (Essendon, Carlton, and North Melbourne) have made it to the big stage of the AFL.

“There haven’t been as many Jewish footballers lately to make it into the AFL, so it’s kind of special to hopefully be the first one [drafted] in a while. Everyone has been so supportive and living it with me, in a sense,” Sheezel said.

“I hope to be pretty inspiring for younger kids as well because I feel like the Jewish community is really into the sport as well, they love their footy, so hopefully I can inspire a few more kids to hopefully go down the same path. 

 

 

“Along the way you see how much it means to people in the community. I never really thought of it until I’ve started to be in the media a little bit more and everyone is all over it now. It’s pretty cool. And at school it’s kind of new for them, they don’t really know how to act and neither do I so I just embrace it.”

Shezeel currently attends Mount Scopus—one of Australia’s foremost Jewish schools. It was there where he really got to learn more about his culture and faith, something that he is extremely proud of. Being at Mount Scopus has also given Sheezel the opportunity to focus on playing for the Dragons in the NAB League.

Sheezel has already shown that he is more than capable of shouldering the responsibility that comes with being a potential AFL footballer and an inspiration to the Jewish community. With his undeniable talent and character, there is no doubt that Harry Sheezel has what it takes to be a successful AFL player. All that’s left now is for him to take that next step and fulfill his dream.

“There’s still a long way to go and a lot of important games to be played. I don’t want to look too far ahead and just focus on each game and each month at a time, because the last two years have shown us that you just have to be present and do the best you can when you play because the next week and the future aren’t guaranteed,” Sheezel said.

“But I think about the draft every second. My life is oriented around it and footy. Everything I do I try to better myself to put myself in the best position I can.”

Sheezel is also one of the ambassadors of Prepare Like A Pro, an organization that helps young footballers with difficulties improve their athleticism, by teaching them sustainable lifestyle tips with a personalized program.

***

Be updated with the new trends. Listen to your favorite athletes and learn from reliable coaches. Subscribe to Prepare Like A Pro Youtube and Podcast!

How to Train Like an AFL Speed Forwarder DefenderCategoriesBlog Elite Lifestyle Players Training Program

How to Train Like an AFL Speed Forwarder & Defender

An AFL speed forwarder and defender train by doing a variety of exercises that help them improve their speed and agility. One of the most important things for these players is to be able to change direction quickly. This allows them to get around opponents and make tackles which are key performance indicators for speed forwards and defenders. In this blog post, we will discuss how AFL speed forwards & defenders train and look at the exercises that these players do to improve their performance on the field.

What is an AFL Speed Forward?

An AFL speed forward is a player whose primary role on the field is to create space and get down the pitch quickly. This can be done through a variety of different techniques, from using quick cuts and changes of pace to making big, hard-cutting runs. Whatever their method, effective speed forwards are key players in any successful AFL team because they help to open up passing lanes and break down defensive formations.

Due to the demanding nature of their role, speed forwards requires tremendous levels of athleticism and endurance in order to perform at the highest level for an entire game or match. And because the speed forward position requires such a high degree of skill, many teams will seek out young players with a natural flair for moving quickly across the field and making snap decisions in order to cultivate them into top-level athletes. 

What is an AFL Speed Defender?

 

An AFL speed defender is a type of player who excels at intercepting and defusing the opposition’s forward thrusts. Typically, these players are top athletes with superior speed, agility, and coordination. They are experts at reading the play and positioning themselves to cut off offensive drives, catch passes, steal the ball, and disrupt offensive sets.

Because they have such an important role on the field, AFL speed defenders often work closely with their team’s coach to strategize about how to deal with different types of offensive attacks. At the highest levels of competition, AFL speed defenders have to be fast learners and highly adaptable in order to keep up with the ever-changing movements of their opponents. Whether it’s testing new defensive formations or refining their skillset through drills and training sessions, these players never stop working to become better at what they do.

How Do AFL Speed Forwarder & Defender Train?

So how do these players train? For starters, both speed forwards and defenders need to have a base level of fitness to perform at the highest level. This means that they need to be able to run long distances and sprint without tiring. What kind of AFL fitness training should these players be doing?

One of the most important things for speed forwards and defenders is to be able to change direction quickly. This can be done through a variety of different exercises, such as sprints, agility drills, and plyometric exercises. These exercises help to improve the player’s coordination and balance, which are essential for changing direction quickly on the field. 

Plyometric exercises are a type of exercise that helps to improve explosive power. These exercises are often used by athletes who need to generate a lot of force in a short period of time, such as sprinters and jumpers. Some examples of plyometric exercises include box jumps, medicine ball throws, and jump squats. These exercises help to improve the player’s ability to generate force quickly, which is essential for sprinting and making quick changes of direction. 

In addition to plyometric exercises, speed forwards and defenders also need to do a lot of sprint work. This helps them to develop the endurance and leg strength necessary for running long distances at high speeds. Sprinting also helps to improve the player’s coordination and balance. 

Speed forwards and defenders also need to have a strong upper body. This helps them to be able to shrug off tackles, maintain their balance when being pushed around, and generate more force when tackling or jumping. Upper body strength can be developed through a variety of different AFL strength & conditioning exercises, such as weightlifting, push-ups, and pull-ups. 

Finally, speed forwards and defenders need to have good mental toughness. This helps them to deal with the challenges of playing such a demanding position. They need to be able to maintain their focus for long periods of time and make quick decisions under pressure. Many players find that meditation and visualization techniques help them to develop the mental toughness necessary for success on the field.

By following a proper training regimen that impacts the necessary AFL fitness components, speed forwards and defenders can become some of the most dangerous players on the field. They possess a unique combination of speed, agility, strength, and mental toughness that allows them to take over games and make plays that other players simply cannot. If you’re looking to take your game to the next level, then emulating the training regimen of an AFL speed forward or defender is a great place to start. 

Watch our presentation on how a developing speed forward and defender should train to maximise performance: 

Want to take your game to the next level? Then You Must Prepare Like a Pro

Contact us to get started on your journey to becoming an AFL speed forward and defender. Our expert coaches will help you every step of the way with tailored programs and drills that will improve your athleticism and confidence. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced player, we can help you take your game to the next level.

***

Be updated with the new trends. Listen to your favorite athletes and learn from reliable coaches. Subscribe to Prepare Like A Pro Youtube and Podcast!

CategoriesPlayers PLP Podcast

Episode 95 – Don Scott

The 300 gamer for Hawthorn, 3 time premiership player 2 of which as captain, inducted in AFL hall of fame, team of the century hawthorn fc and founder of the company operation payback which was instrumental in preventing Melbourne & hawthorn merging

  • What successful leaders in the team should possess
  • How he inspired footballers who looked up to him
  • How he condition his mental side before the game
  • Don’s challenges as a player
  • Highlights of his career
  • How he helped to prevent Hawthorn FC from merging to Melbourne FC in the ’90s

Listen: iTunesSpotify

Josh Fahey Prepare Like A Pros ambassadorsCategoriesBlog Elite Lifestyle Players Training Program

PLP Ambassador, Josh Fahey, Became a Giant

Josh Fahey, a Canberra native, was listed by the GWS Giants in the AFL draft, putting him one step closer to playing in the AFL.

Fahey, a national ambassador for Prepare Like A Pro and a Giants Academy product, was selected with pick 42 after GWS matched a Bulldogs bid.

 

The 18-year-old is a medium defender/winger with a dazzling left foot who enjoys taking the game on with his mastery of pace and speed. Fahey has been in the Giants’ system since he was a kid, and getting selected up by them is a dream come true for him.  Before the draft, he met with Leon Cameron, who informed him that he was in the club’s plans, and he’s trained with the club in Sydney a few times over the last two years. He “liked every second of it,” as one might expect.

“It seems like home,” Fahey remarked, “and there’s no else I’d rather be than here.”

Fahey, a high talent from outside the AFL heartland, played for the AFL Academy against the Geelong VFL team in April, collecting the MCC President’s medal for best on the ground; played five games for the Giants’ VFL side; and, of course, wore the yellow and black for his Queanbeyan Tigers.  He appreciates everything the Tigers have done to assist him in making the AFL list after coming through the Tigers program.

“They’ve done a lot for me during my career and are probably the main reason I’m where I am now,” Fahey said.

Growing up in Canberra’s rugby league heartland and playing for Queanbeyan, Fahey’s path to the AFL big time was everything but smooth. After his father transferred to the Gold Coast for employment in January of last year, he took a three-month break and played two games for the Suns Academy. After that time, it was unclear if Fahey would still be considered a Giants Academy player for AFL draft purposes when he returned to Canberra.

Before he sealed his credentials with a best-on-ground effort in a losing cause for the AFL Academy against Geelong’s VFL club, league officials signed off on his eligibility.

Fahey is a high-achieving junior who embodies the progress junior football has made in the ten years since the Giants Academy was founded. Despite this, Fahey believes it is still more difficult to break into the AFL from Canberra than it is from the footy-heavy states south of the Barassi-line.

“You don’t get noticed as much,” he stated, “but some people don’t get the same opportunity as others in larger states, so it’s quite humbling to be able to receive this opportunity.”

“There’s a lot of strong talent going through the Academy in Canberra and the Riverina area, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I saw a lot more draftees come out of the area.”

And now that his number has been summoned, the sprightly rebounding defender should expect things to go swiftly.  His goal for pre-season is to put in a good chunk of work in preparation for his AFL debut next season.

“Hopefully next year I have the opportunity,” he said. “It would be fantastic to debut here in front of my local audience and family.”

Interested in training like Josh?

Check out our Online Training Program

***

Be updated with the new trends. Listen to your favorite athletes and learn from reliable coaches.

Subscribe to Prepare Like A Pro Youtube and Podcast!

PLP Ambassador Nick Daicos Got Drafted with MagpiesCategoriesBlog Elite Lifestyle Players

PLP Ambassador, Nick Daicos, Drafted to the Collingwood Football Club!

Nick Daicos is one of the most well-known prospective AFL players in the 2021 draft. The son of legendary Magpies ace Peter and brother of Collingwood star Josh, Nick is one of Prepare Like A Pro’s esteemed national ambassadors.

 

 

Daicos is undoubtedly one of the most well-known draftees in football history, given his popularity on social media and heightened focus on the talent pipeline. Daicos, potentially the league’s first father-son selection ever, has already signed a four-year contract, has an endorsement deal with Nike, has over 50,000 Instagram followers, is known by a moniker “Whisper” (his social media account username), is stopped for pictures on the street frequently draws hundreds of supporters to his NAB games. Add to that he’s going to one of the country’s biggest clubs, which just had its worst season in more than two decades, and the attention on Daicos is entirely understandable.

This is Nick Daicos, a basketball-smitten, Fortnite-playing youngster navigating COVID-19 challenges during the most crucial year of his young career. All while being the white hope for Collingwood, a classy midfielder with pinpoint finesse, an incredible work ethic, a thirst for the ball, a star mentality, and a talent for the goal that is in his genes.

The elder Daicos is still remembered as a Pies hero, a 250-game standout who scored 549 goals and led them to their first-ever premiership in 1990. Daicos was known as the ‘Macedonian Marvel’ for his incredible goal-scoring feats and football prowess. The 60-year-old, who deals in real estate development, is now a proud father.

“When I was younger, I’d search him up on YouTube and have a look at a few of his goals,” Nick said in an interview with AFL’s website. “He’s the last person who would say, ‘Hey, look at this clip of me!’, but we are all so proud of dad.”

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said Daicos would have been selected for round one if he had been on the list after working with the Pies twice a week as part of the club’s father-son program in February.

“There’s no disputing his absolute talent. He already looks strong, quick, low to the ground – the Daicos trait. Very powerful. Left foot, right foot. Talent-wise there’s no question. Effort, attitude-wise he looks really good,” Buckley said.

All father-son possibilities pique interest, but when you combine Collingwood’s troubles and Daicos’ form in 2021, he becomes a national figure. However, as the year progressed, Daicos was undecided about nominating for the Pies or joining the open draft. In February, Daicos, his parents, and D’Orazio met with Collingwood football manager Graham Wright, who explicitly confirmed the club’s intention of signing him.

“At the moment, I’m up for grabs for anyone. I’m so driven by team success. I want to win two, three, or four flags. That’s my aim. I feel like I’ve got to make the decision that’s right for me, I don’t feel pressure to nominate as a father-son. I’ve worked hard to get into this position and hopefully, it pans out that I do get to Collingwood and I’m really liking the club. But I’m stuck in the middle and not sure what I’ll do or where I’ll go,” said the younger Daicos.

He also confirmed his desire to play with his brother and be recognized as the top draft pick.

“The pro is I’d love to play with Josh. To play with your brother at the highest level would be a dream come true. That’s the main thing for me to go there. Against would probably be that I really want to be the No.1 draft pick. That’s my aim but if I’m a father-son it could stop that. A lot of people will say, ‘It’s just a pick’ which is definitely fair enough but it’s also a really good representation of the hard work that’s been put in.”

Want to train like Nick and book a private coaching session with one of our coaches?

Book a Private Coaching Session

***

Be updated with the new trends. Listen to your favorite athletes and learn from reliable coaches.

Subscribe to Prepare Like A Pro Youtube and Podcast!

Jacob van Rooyen Prepare Like A Pros Elite Football Player AmbassadorCategoriesBlog Players PLP Podcast

Jacob van Rooyen – Drafted to Melbourne Football Club

Jacob van Rooyen is an intriguing talent Melbourne selected as the 19th overall pick in the recent 2021 National Draft.

A national ambassador for a multi-faceted provider of physical preparation services Prepare Like A Pro, the 6-foot-3 Western Australian native could prove to be a valuable swingman, having expertise in vital position roles at both ends of the field.

The intriguing tall bolstered his draft stock with his season-ending performance for Claremont in the WAFL Colts competition. Van Rooyen kicked eleven goals in three Tigers finals, including four in a Grand Final defeat. His ability to play both sides of the field will be critical to the Demons’ success. This was on full display during Western Australia’s Under 19s representative contest against South Australia, where Van Rooyen excelled all day in the down back before sneaking up in the final moments to hit the game-winning major.

“Van Rooyen kicked the winning goal for Western Australia against South Australia in the under-19s clash last weekend, having drifted forward late after spending most of the game in defense. It is that versatility that has improved the Claremont product’s stocks across the year. Van Rooyen played at senior level earlier this season whilst battling glandular fever but his past two months have impressed with his work ethic and capacity to play in key positions,” said draft expert Callum Twomey.

Van Rooyen, who has shone at both ends of the grounds, had a sneaking suspicion he might wind up with the Demons.

“It’s really exciting, and hopefully, I can be a part of it next year and do it all again,” he said in an interview with The West Australian. “I had an interview with (coach) Simon (Goodwin), and then they called me to see how I was going. So I had a suspicion but wasn’t really sure. I feel obviously stoked and pumped. It’s really exciting and a dream come true.”

Van Rooyen, who was sidelined earlier this year by glandular fever, believed he could play senior footy next season and didn’t care which position he played.

“I think I’m quite close enough to a good size and good weight,” he said. “It’s probably just learning to be a bit smarter with my body.”

Van Rooyen stands out in a draft class dominated by midfielders. When you combine his tall stature, strong marking, hard running, and plenty of blond hair, it’s easy to see why scouts took notice.

“It’s not so much about me going out there and dominating – it’s more playing the best I can and proving I am able to play against men. I think showing I can hold my spot and that I’m physically ready is the main thing that’s good,” he said.

The lifelong Dockers supporter described training alongside club legends Nat Fyfe and David Mundy as unreal, despite idolizing a Richmond spearhead when honing his own attacking skill.

“I admire Jack Riewoldt and his uncanny ability to leap into contests. He does not always mark it, but he is constantly creating contests and is also an excellent lead player,”‘ he stated.

 

***

Be updated with the new trends. Listen to your favorite athletes and learn from reliable coaches. Subscribe to Prepare Like A Pro Youtube and Podcast!

CategoriesPlayers PLP Podcast

Episode 85 – Garry Baker

Garry “Bull” Baker is a former Australian rules footballer who played for Melbourne, Footscray, and Sydney. A ruckman, Baker was originally from Meeniyan and started his career at Footscray before moving to Melbourne where he played most of his football. He won Melbourne’s best and fairest in 1978. In 1983 he joined Sydney who was playing just their second season in the city, he played a total of 147 games and kicked 126 goals. He later played for and coached both Mordialloc and Moorabbin in the Victorian Football Association and is currently the owner of two successful restaurants in Tasmania.

Topics we discussed:

  • Where he started and played his junior footy
  • His favorite footy position
  • Mentors who influenced career
  • Garry’s leadership style when he was vice-captain
  • Challenges in his career
  • Fave TV series or movie

People mentioned:

  • Ted Whitton
  • Glenn Mclean
  • Nathan Fyfe
  • Marcus Bontempelli
  • Patrick Cripps
  • Max Gawn
  • Stefen Martin
  • Tim English
  • Tom Mcdonald
  • Ben Brown
  • Bayley Fritsch
  • Tom Lynch
  • Jack Riewoldt
  • Dustin Martin
  • Bobe Rose
  • Bob Skilton
  • Robert Flower
  • Ron Barassi
  • Christian Petrecca
  • Greg Voss

Listen: iTunesSpotify

CategoriesPlayers PLP Podcast

Episode 83 – Dylan Shiel

Dylan is a professional Australian rules footballer playing for the Essendon Football Club. He attended Caulfield Grammar School, graduating in 2010 and played his juniors at Dandenong Stingrays in the TAC Cup. He has played a total of 180 games, 135 with GWS and 45 with Essendon.

Topics we discussed:

  • 00:00  Mindfulness training
  • 01:11  How he works on his weaknesses during offseason
  • 02:14  What he does before a game that benefits him
  • 03:43  His plan for life after footy
  • 04:35  How to boost team morale for next week’s game after a loss
  • 05:57  How he trains for explosiveness

People mentioned:

  • Gregg Merideth 
  • Kevin Sheedy 
  • Mark Williams
  • Nik Cox
  • Archie Perkins
  • John Patton
  • Lachlan Wilmott
  • John Quinn
  • Robert Harvey
  • Alex Natera
  • Mark Mcgrath
  • Tom Scully
  • Ross Lyon
  • David Read
  • Ben Rutten
  • Callan Ward
  • Troy Simmonds
  • Kobe Bryant
  • Michael Jordan
  • Bruce Lee
  • Shane Richardson

Connect: https://www.instagram.com/dylanshiel/

𝐏𝐫𝐞𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐋𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐀 𝐏𝐫𝐨

Prepare Like a Pro is a strength and conditioning platform that works with developing footballers and strength and conditioning coaches. To empower you with best practice physical preparation methods.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to watch these live chats

And if you want to get more involved with our community and make a guest appearance on a future episode join our Academy on Patreon.

Thanks for tuning in and be sure to contact us for any inquiries or to discuss advertising your brand on the prepare like a pro platform 

Visit: https://linktr.ee/preparelikeapro

Listen: iTunesSpotify

CategoriesPlayers PLP Podcast

Episode 80 – Michael Rischitelli

Welcome back to the Prepare as a pro Live chats show. Tonight we have Michael Rischitelli. Rischitelli played for the Western Jets before beginning his AFL career. He showed great promise and potential playing for the Western junior sides. He was the Lions’ fifth and eventual final pick in the 2003 AFL Draft and was the number 61 draft pick overall. Michael is also a level 2 AFL coach and is co-founder of a business called Playrpath.

Topics we discussed:

  • What influenced Michael to pursue a footy career
  • How his sessions with his dietician looked like when he started footy
  • His favorite recovery and how his training sessions before a game looks like
  • How training coaches and dieticians helped his career
  • Difference with program & training sessions between Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast Sun
  • Michael’s fave tv series or movie

People mentioned:

  • Leigh Matthews
  • Sam Coen
  • Simone Austin
  • Garry Ablett
  • Nigel Lappin
  • Simon Black
  • Justin Lepppitsch 
  • Michael Voss 

Connect Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/michael_rischitelli/

https://instagram.com/playrpath?utm_medium=copy_link

Website: https://playrpath.com/

Listen: iTunesSpotify

Anthony KoutoufidesCategoriesBlog Elite Lifestyle Players

The Legendary Australian Rules Footballer, Anthony Koutoufides

Anthony Koutoufides rose to incredible prominence while playing for the Carlton Football Club. He is regarded by fans and pundits alike as one of the most potent and finest players of all time, owing to the versatility that allowed him to play every position. Koutoufides was in a class on his own, so much so that he was frequently called the prototype of the modern footballer.

Apart from his sporting greatness, Koutoufides has also made a name for himself, becoming an Australian celebrity and making several appearances on television shows. His most notable stints were in the Australian television series “Gladiators” where he played the character “Kouta,” and Australia’s version of “Dancing with the Stars,” which he won in 2006.

Playing Career

Koutoufides joined Carlton in 1990 after being recruited from Lalor. He played 50 games in the reserve squad, where he was named the best and fairest player in the league in 1991. In 1992, he began his AFL career with the Carlton FC. He rapidly proved himself to be one of the most dynamic and athletic players ever to play the sport. With a solid mark, a beautiful kick, and a hard-running style, the former state under-16 high jump champion, who excelled in the 110m hurdles and the discus, decided to transfer from track and field athletics to Australian rules football.

Throughout the early to mid-1990s, Koutoufides’ prominence rose, and by 1995, he had distinguished himself as a dominant player in the game. Highly regarded for his powerful mark and his extraordinary one-handed proficiency at stoppages, Koutoufides was more skilled than any other player in the league at plucking the ball up off the ground with one hand and then swinging that arm over opponents to set up clearing handpasses than any other player in the league. He was a member of Carlton’s 1995 premiership team and was named to the All-Australian team.

Koutoufides reached the pinnacle of his career in 2000, his most remarkable season. He appeared in 20 games, averaged 26 disposals, more than six marks, and almost two goals per game. In Round 8, he had a career-high 39 disposals against Sydney. He was the clear frontrunner for the Brownlow Medal before suffering a knee injury (torn posterior cruciate ligament) in front of 91,000 fans in Round 20 against Essendon. 

He was the clear frontrunner for the Brownlow Medal before suffering a knee injury (torn posterior cruciate ligament) in front of 91,000 fans in Round 20 against Essendon.  He’d also miss out on Carlton’s best and fairest, which Brett Ratten and Scott Camporeale. Still, he’d win the highly regarded AFLPA MVP Award (now known as the Leigh Matthews Trophy) and was named to the All-Australian team for the second time. His knee injury, though, would keep him out of the International Rules series.

Koutoufides’ recovered from his knee injury before the start of the 2001 season. He went on to earn his first club best and fairest award. However, he suffered another knee injury in the semi-final versus Richmond, this time a severe ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). He didn’t play again until Round 15 in 2002, and he only played three games that year, all while wearing a custom-made brace. For the next few years, Koutoufides’ jumping ability was significantly undermined. 

Koutoufides was named captain of the squad in 2004 after Andrew McKay retired, a role he retained until 2006. Koutoufides won his second best and fairest award as captain in 2005. He was once again a major component in Carlton’s midfield. 

Retirement From Illustrious Career

On July 31, 2007, Koutoufides announced his departure from AFL football. The choice was reached after a hip injury he sustained against St Kilda in Round 17 of 2007 was more severe than initially thought. Before the match against Collingwood in Round 18, 2007, he received a lap of honor and a standing ovation from the Carlton players and spectators. Koutoufides is Carlton’s all-time leading scorer with 278 games played. 

Koutoufides was a member of the century’s Italian and Greek teams, the latter of which he was nominated vice-captain. He is a Carlton Football Club life member. He is also a life member of the AFL, participating in 305 games (278 regular-season games, 26 pre-season games, and 1 State of Origin game). He was admitted to the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2014.

Greatest Performances

Two particularly notable performances stand out in Koutoufides’ career. Koutoufides controlled the wing against West Coast in Round 5 of 1996 at Optus Oval. He had a career-high 18 marks, including the game-saving mark that kept the Blues in front by one point. For the Optus Oval farewell, it was entered into the “Memorable Moments” category. 

The second unforgettable performance of Koutoufides was his final quarter in the 1999 preliminary final against Essendon. Koutoufides went into the middle in the fourth quarter, drifting forward and back to finish with ten kicks and six marks, four clearances, three rebounds, and two goals, enabling the Blues to rally from an 11-point deficit to upset the heavily-favored Bombers by one point. Stephen Kernahan, a club icon (and later president), called the performance “the greatest quarter of football ever played.”

***

Be updated with the new trends. Listen to your favorite athletes and learn from reliable coaches. Subscribe to Prepare Like A Pro Youtube and Podcast!