FOOTBALL season is a busy time for talented forward Sam Gordon.
Between his footy commitments at Geelong Grammar and TAC Cup team Geelong Falcons, 18-year-old Gordon trains five nights a week - but is just as dedicated to his year 12 studies.
"I need to have a good education to back me up if footy isn't going to happen," Gordon said.
When The Weekly Times visited him at school recently, classmates shouted "'You're looking at the number
one draft pick," as he had his photo taken.
An AFL career has been Gordon's ultimate dream since he was a kid. Growing up on a beef and sheep farm at Leslie Manor, 23km north of Camperdown, he said he always had a footy in his hands.
Despite boarding at Geelong Grammar, Gordon said he kept a tight connection with his grassroots club.
On holidays, he tries to make Thursday night dinners at the Camperdown Magpies and when he can, he supports his brother and mates at a game.
After rising through the Magpies' junior ranks, he played his first senior game last year and earned a scholarship at Geelong Grammar, where he plays in the school's Associated Public Schools football team.
Despite being a Geelong supporter, Gordon said he admired Hawthorn star forward Buddy Franklin.
"I probably would never play like him because I'm not quite as quick, but he leads up forward and works really hard," he said. "He's just so exciting."
There's also something exciting about 197cm Gordon, who booted 10 goals in the Falcons' first three matches this season. He was also part of the Vic Country squad for the AFL national under-18 championships, slotting four goals in his team's win over Tasmania.
Despite these highs, Gordon said one of his favourite football achievements happened abroad. "My best memory is making the AIS AFL Academy and going to South Africa," he said.
"It was such a massive thing for me, going over there and playing against those kids that are so happy.
"It was just a great feeling."