By Corey Lyons, De La Salle College, Malvern
I began playing footy as an eight-year-old at St Peter’s Junior Football Club, although it was never really a true passion of mine until my mid-teens. Until then I was a keen cricketer playing for Omega Cricket Club.
I attended St James College, Bentleigh East, through Years 7 to 10 and always tried hard at school to get the best results I could, while involving myself in as many sports as I could including football, cricket, baseball, swimming and even netball. At this point it was relatively easy to juggle education, sport and social responsibilities; the true test came throughout VCE in Year 11 and 12 at De La Salle College.
Playing with the Sandringham Dragons as well as representing Vic Metro meant weekends were often spent travelling out to play football in country Victoria or even interstate which made studying tough to schedule. Training was generally 3–4 nights a week and I spent the evenings off in the school library getting as much study in their as possible given the limited time I had.
My teachers were truly amazing over the course of Year 12 as they understood my commitments outside of school and helped me manage that as best I could. My family were huge in supporting me through the year, giving me space to study when I needed and understanding the stress I was under when I occasionally lost my cool!
My sporting achievements this year included a lot of firsts for me. I was lucky enough to win my first best and fairest with the Sandringham Dragons and to cap it all off, I won my first premiership in the same season! This experience was something special, playing on Etihad Stadium on live television and winning a grand final is second to none.
The De La Salle community was epitomised on this day, with a number of teachers turning up to support the De La Salle boys playing.
Draft night was a strange experience, I was not expecting to get drafted, however, I was hopeful I would hear my name. I was lucky enough to be picked up by the Brisbane Lions and couldn't have been happier with my brother up on the Gold Coast; it worked out perfectly.
Receiving my ATAR (94) was another strange experience, being in Tasmania on a training camp I was up and ready for training when the text came through and I was stoked with the result and it was a great way to cap off a year that I had put so much into.
I can't thank the people at both St James and De La Salle College enough for helping me achieve what I have both on and off the field!