Lochlan Dickson: 2019 Draft Q&A with Jarrad Gardner

Two Jim Sullivan medals in as many years has Lochie Dickson firmly in the sights of AFL recruiters, Jarrad Gardner caught up with the Coburg midfielder ahead of the draft to discuss his impressive VFL career so far and how he thinks he can contribute to and AFL club.


Jarrad Gardner: What does the next week look like for you in the lead up to the draft?

Lochie Dickson: “There’s really nothing different to be honest, I’ll just do what I normally do regardless of whether the draft was on or not, so it’s just the same week as any other during the year.”


JG: Your story is a bit different to many young players, you didn’t play any TAC Cup and were just playing senior footy up until the end of 2017, did you have many VFL clubs reach out and was it an easy decision to pick Coburg?

LD: “It was a fairly easy decision in the end, I had a few clubs invite me to come and train and see how I enjoyed it, but for me, Coburg being a standalone club was the big drawcard. I thought if I was going to put in all the work during pre-season and during the year that I didn’t want my opportunities to be influenced by AFL listed players and how many spots were available to play each week.”


JG: Could you have imagined after two years, you would be a dual best and fairest winner at this club and have played every game?

LD: “It obviously wasn’t my goal to win the best and fairest but I came to the level and I thought I was good enough to play at VFL level and that’s why I came and wanted to do it at Coburg. It wasn’t easy though, the first practice match I didn’t get picked for but I think I’ve played every game since then.

It wasn’t my expectation that I’d have the two good years that I’ve had but I definitely thought I was good enough for the level and I could play good footy consistently so I guess there’s a bit of yes and no there.”


JG: Was there a specific point you can remember where you first thought you could make it to AFL level?

LD: “After my first few games, I probably thought I could match it with AFL-listed guys so at that point you know you can compete and at that point you’re kind of thinking it’s not that big of a step up to go to the next level.

As for when I thought I was a chance, probably at the start of this year I really started to think with the mid season draft that it was a possibility and it almost happened but it wasn’t meant to be but I’d say that was when it started to look like not just a dream but it could actually happen.”


JG: The mid-season draft comes around and you aren’t picked up, how did you get through that disappointment going into the second half of the season?

LD: “I knew that day before the draft actually took place that it probably wasn’t going to happen, so I mean clearly it was disappointing because if you had’ve asked me a week earlier it probably looked more likely than not.

So it was disappointing but you just move on and try and play the best footy you can to give yourself a chance at the end of the year but it was a tough second half of the year, I didn’t train a lot because of a couple of concussions, it certainly wasn’t easy.”


JG: For anyone who hasn’t seen you play before, how would you describe your own game style and do you base your game off anyone?

LD: “There’s nobody I really try and base my game off as such, I mean you watch heaps of different players and take different things from different players and try to put them into your own game.

I’d say I’m a very versatile player who’s played in all areas of the ground this year and I’ve got leg speed on the outside to break the lines, I’m fairly creative and looking to bring my team mates into the game and put them into space. Those are probably my main attributes that help my team the most.”


JG: Speaking of your versatility, you played across half-back in 2018 and moved into the midfield full-time in 2019, if that something you were excited to add to your game?

LD: “I enjoy playing different positions because it’s always good to take on new challenges, so at the end of last year Patch (Leigh Adams) and I spoke about where our list was at and we probably had a bit more depth in our backline which saw me play more midfield time which was a good challenge and in the end I was able to contribute reasonably well across the year, but I definitely enjoy playing across half-back, that’s probably my favourite position.”


JG: How do you think being in an AFL environment could help you grow as a player?

LD: “I think just the obvious one of being in a full-time environment and working on your game every day of the week and you’ve got more opportunity to build a fitness base and strength and also look after your body more.”