Sam Lowson was touted as a potential mid-season draft pick in 2019, but an untimely ankle injury unfortunately derailed those ambitions.
After coming back from that injury late in the season he’s now firmly back on the draft radar, Jarrad Gardner spoke to him in the lead up to the draft about his time at the club, whether he regrets the decision to play in that game against Geelong and what he can bring to and AFL club.
Sam Lowson: “It’s a lot different to what the mid-season draft was, I’m a lot more relaxed and if it happens, it’s an awesome opportunity that I would cherish but if it doesn’t then I’ve got to move on, work harder and hopefully earn another draft shot in future drafts. I can’t control what happens between now and next week so I’m just going about my life normally and focusing on what I can control.”
JG: When was the turning point when you realised there was a genuine opportunity for you to get drafted?
SL: “It was actually back in 2018 which was Sturg’s (Andrew Sturgess) last year as midfield coach and he said to me at a training session the he believed I had the ability to get picked up and I had the attributes of an AFL player and we had a chat about it and I was sort of dumbfounded when he said it but then after he said it a few other people said the same thing and since then I started getting a bit more recognition and it took off this year. I now 100% believe that I am ready to take my chance at AFL level should it come my way”
JG: Moving on to the mid-season draft this year and an unfortunate injury against Geelong, how did you get through that disappointment of missing out on the draft and who did you have around you throughout that recovery process?
SL: “At the beginning, because everything happened so quickly it didn’t really kick in so I wasn’t too disappointed and I was more worried about getting myself right. I think reality kicked in when I came back and started running and I felt how far off my body was from my best. Through that whole experience the boys got around me, the leadership group came around when I was at home and couldn’t move so it was a lot to do with the boys and the coaching staff and the whole club helped me get through as well as my family obviously. The staff here at Coburg were amazing with me and my rehab and to get back and play 4 games at the end of the season has made me confident in my ability to get through a challenge such as that”
“It was just more disappointing because I couldn’t just keep playing footy, if I did miss out on the pre-season draft anyway I wouldn’t have been too disappointed but the fact that I was on the couch and I couldn’t do anything.”
JG: Was there ever any doubt about whether you should’ve played that match against Geelong?
SL: “A lot of people have said to me why would I play that last game, I never played football for individual glory, it’s always a team thing and I love the boys and I was going into that game thinking we could win, so I wasn’t going in thinking I shouldn’t play.”
“People saw the result and said why would I play, well I couldn’t know that at the start and it wouldn’t have made a difference because the way I got myself into this position was by playing a team game, it wasn’t for my own selfishness.”
“I was never going to miss that game, I just couldn’t do that to my teammates.”
JG: Once you came back from that injury, in the final match against Footscray you had 11 tackles and kicked a goal, was that a point where you felt like you were back to where you were at pre-injury?
SL: “Yeah definitely, those first few games coming back from injury I’ve never been so angry and frustrated because my body just wasn’t allowing me do the things I would normally do, so the first two games weren’t the greatest but during the Williamstown game I started to feel my body let me do more and play with more freedom. In the round 21 game against Footscray, I definitely felt like I wasn’t far off 100% and what I was able to do pre-injury.”
“I believe in the state combine I was able to really prove to myself that I was back to my best, I was really happy with the results of my testing given where I was at only 5 weeks earlier.”
JG: For people who haven’t watched you before, how would you describe your game and do you have any AFL players that you try to model your game around?
SL: “I think my game is very explosive, tackling pressure and finishing when I need to. I probably play a similar role to the modern small forwards like the Richmond model in the sense of tackling, forward pressure, running and kicking goals. I love contested ball and the contest as well. I feel that my speed and power also makes me hard to tackle and stop when I’m in full flight so I try and get the ball on the move as much as possible.
I think I can be a pretty hard matchup too because I back myself as a leading small forward, so with a taller opponent I can run them around abit and beat them on the ground and with a smaller opponent I can beat them with body work and strength”
JG: Have you always played forward throughout you junior football career?
SL: “I used to play midfield when I was younger, but then when I turned 18 my coaches started liking the way I was able to play as a forward. Back then I was a lot smaller than my opponents so I wasn’t suited to the midfield, but I found myself kicking goals and tackling which I love.”
JG: How do you think being in an AFL environment can help your game and make you better?
SL: “I think just the 24/7 environment would do wonders for me, I’m a chippy by trade and then fitting in my training after that, there’s just not enough hours in the day to really push myself the best I can possibly be. I think in a full-time environment I can strive for my fitness and strength to get better and I can prove to myself that I can be a lot better than I currently am. Having shown that I can beat AFL listed defenders in the VFL has given me great confidence that I can match it with the best, so all I’m after now is an opportunity”
JG: How did you come to end up at Coburg?
SL: “I never got given an opportunity at any TAC Cup (now NAB League) level as an under 18, but after a few years of senior football with East Ringwood, Coburg reached out and asked if I wanted to do a pre-season. Coburg loved the way I was able to apply forward pressure and kick goals. I remember in my first preseason I nearly got cut from the preseason squad early because I wasn’t at the level from a fitness perspective. But I’m glad the club waited for the preseason matches to come around so they could see me in action, from there I’ve loved every minute at Coburg and I’m forever grateful for the opportunity to do what I love doing at this level and hopefully the next level up too.”