Curran chases AFL dream

TOM Curran has lived every part of the AFL lifestyle except the element he wants most – that of a player.The 18-year-old Glen Waverley resident hopes to follow in his father Peter’s footsteps by entering the AFL ranks during the AFL draft tomorrow night. Curran senior played 109 games with Hawthorn and has worked for both Adelaide and Melbourne as an assistant coach.The Currans have followed him throughout his football career from playing in Bendigo, where Tom was born, to Tasmania, subsequently to Adelaide and in recent years to Melbourne.Peter Curran played with South Bendigo after leaving the Hawks. He is currently head of football at Wesley College in Melbourne.Throughout that journey Tom Curran’s life has been intertwined with football at the top level learning from then teenager Mark Jamar, who lived with the Currans while he did Year 12 in Adelaide, to training with the Hawks last December as the club considered whether to exercise its father-son draft choice on him.Unfortunately for Curran the Hawks wanted to use their draft picks during trade week, so the highly regarded Oakleigh Chargers star was given a polite, but firm rejection from the club.“Their recruiting manager Graham Wright came to our house and explained why they wouldn’t be taking me,’’ he said.“He told me ‘one door closes and 17 other doors open’.“There was a five-minute gap where I sat with mum and dad and was disappointed, but I’d rather do it this way. Now it’s about me being good enough rather than being picked on sentiment.’’As articulate as Curran is, he made it clear he knows the Hawks chose trading for former Adelaide draft pick Jack Gunston ahead of signing him.“They thought he was a better prospect than me – that’s their decision,’’ he said.Curran has come from a fair way back in terms of making the AFL.He only began in the TAC Cup system last year after focusing on cricket, but during this time he has developed his body and his aerobic capacity to the point where he ran 14.1 in the beep test during recent testing.Curran overcame some mid-season back and shin injuries to help lead the Chargers into the TAC Cup grand final, which they lost by four points.Should Curran not be picked in the draft the Hawks, along with several other clubs, would almost certainly add him to their rookie list.