For home-grown rising footy star Patrick Warner, football has been a part of his routine since he was a kid.
The Benalla student recalls being drawn into footy by his father’s love of the game and the influence of his cousins.
‘‘I remember going down and watching my cousins play all the time with the All Blacks so that was probably the biggest push,’’ he said.
Since then, Warner has gone from strength to strength in his own right, now representing the Murray Bushrangers in the TAC Cup.
After making it through a pre-season training squad and five trial games, Warner found himself in the best 50 to represent the squad.
Warner said he was loving being involved with the club and experiencing playing at that level.
‘‘You get a really good look into a professional environment,’’ he said.
‘‘I was pretty excited and happy to get into it in my top age year, it’s the one where you know you’re sort of going to get a game.
‘‘I get pretty nervous when I go up against the other teams, but I also look forward to it and getting down on a decent ground and playing some decent quality football.’’
Although being drafted to an AFL club is Warner’s ultimate dream, the humble half forward isn’t looking too far ahead.
‘‘Getting drafted is probably the goal, but being realistic not many kids make it, so I’m just looking to play the best footy I can,’’ he said.
‘‘Definitely by being in the program you get the first look in but I guess it’s just up to the selectors.’’
Warner’s success, however, hasn’t come without setbacks in the form of injuries, tearing the ligaments in his ankle twice last year.
‘‘I did it in my first game of the TAC Cup in the first 10 minutes,’’ he said.
‘‘I spent four or five weeks on the sidelines and then did it again.
‘‘It wasn’t the best, but I came back from it.’’
Warner also credits a lot of his accomplishments to the guidance of his junior football coach Ben Wapling.
‘‘Ben coached me all through my juniors and he’s the best bloke I’ve ever met and best coach I’ve ever had,’’ he said.
‘‘A lot of boys around town will say that.
‘‘He’s done more for footy in this community than anyone I reckon.’’
For now, Warner is just enjoying playing with his mates and kicking goals for the Bushrangers.
‘‘It’s good, I just get to kick snags,’’ he said.