Barlow plays down Brownlow talk - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Barlow plays down Brownlow talk

By Justin Chadwick 28/06/2010 06:57:10 PM Comments (0)

Prized Fremantle recruit Michael Barlow has distanced himself from talk he could win this year's Brownlow Medal but says he is forever indebted to the Dockers for throwing him an AFL lifeline as a mature-age recruit.

Barlow endured years of heartbreak trying to break into AFL ranks before the Dockers took the punt on the prolific midfielder, snaring him with pick No.8 in this year's rookie draft.

The down-to-earth 22-year-old has repaid the club's faith in spades, averaging 28.1 possessions and 1.2 goals a game in Fremantle's 9-4 start to the year.

Such has been his dramatic rise to fame, Barlow sits as high as equal second in some betting markets to win the Brownlow Medal - not that he wants to talk up his chances.

"To be honest I don't read anything into that at all," Barlow said on Monday.

"You do hear about it, it's hard not to hear about that kind of stuff. but as far as I'm concerned I've played 12 AFL games and just looking forward to my 13th against Port Adelaide.

"If I can contribute that's all that (coach) Mark Harvey and the coaching staff want from me."

Barlow, who spent two seasons at VFL side Werribee before breaking into the AFL, said the numerous years of being overlooked at the draft made him a stronger person and player.

"I suppose the heartbreaks begun at a young age when I kept missing out on representative sides," Barlow reflected.

"I was never really a legitimate chance to get drafted in that under-18 year.

"So I really had to work and develop as a footballer and person and work my way from the Goulburn Valley Football League into the VFL and now into the AFL.

"It's definitely been a long journey and something that I'm really going to try to prolong and sustain for as long as possible."

Barlow trained with St Kilda during the 2009 pre-season and with Essendon later on in the year, but both clubs overlooked him when push came to shove at the draft.

Collingwood also had the country Victorian in their sights.

But all that's history now for Barlow, who after just two games for Fremantle signed a two-year extension to his existing one-year deal.

"I was interviewed by about seven or eight clubs before (last year's) national draft so there was hope ... Collingwood was one of those," he said.

"Collingwood did seem to be one of the more interested parties ... but there's no promises in the drafting system as I've found out over a few years.

"But Fremantle Football Club, here I am, standing here, stoked to be here and couldn't be happier with how it's all turned out.

"I got drafted and was forever indebted to the Fremantle football club to giving me that opportunity.

"I couldn't be at a better place with a better bunch of people.

"I'm stoked to be on board until the end of the 2012 season."

Geelong's 28-year-old forward James Podsiadly is another mature-age recruit who has impressed this year.

Barlow said VFL players Myles Sewell and Sam Dwyer, and emerging WAFL star Tendai Mzungu all deserved a chance to strut their stuff in the AFL.

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