Gold Coast star Sam Collins may look like he belongs in a pub rather than a boardroom, but the Suns defender has ambitions to one day lead the game.
The 28-year-old has walked the beaten track through 81 AFL appearances, and it means the hard-hitting defender has a different perspective than other more talented players who came into the system with a silver spoon in their mouth.
Collins has already earned a Bachelor of Finance and is about to complete his Master of Business Administration (MBA).
Running the football division of the AFL.
Though the man with the bushy mustache and mullet, who admits to cutting his own hair, knows he’ll need to fix up his locks when the time comes, he’s convinced that his journey from unwanted player to Sun’s defense pillar has set him up for success. prepared. .
Cult hero Sam Collins is one of the most popular players on the Gold Coast thanks to his iconic mustache and mu…
Collins, pictured with partner Georgie Mitchell, said he already has his eye on running the AFL’s footy department when he retires
Collins admits he has ‘morphed’ into the Suns’ main defender since his arrival in 2019, picked from Box Hill after two strong years in the VFL following his ruthless ouster from Fremantle after being called up at pick 55 in 2015.
He wore a more traditional cut back then, but has taken matters into his own hands with a look he says reflects his development on the Gold Coast.
“I cut it myself… my hair is an evolution of my football,” Collins proudly told AAP.
‘Since I first came here, a lot has changed. I have much more confidence in myself and I like to put my fingerprints on the club.
‘I’m not the most modern footballer; I’m quite short and it’s not where I’m lined up to play, but it’s where I ended up.
“I play an important role for the team and I love it,” said the 194 cm, 98 kg defender.
The Werribee junior is bright minded due to the long road that has come to cement an AFL career.
He’s an immensely popular member of the club, and a big part of changing the culture since the ill-fated Gary Ablett Junior era.
Sam Collins tries to score a goal during a preseason training session for the Suns on February 17
Collins, pictured with partner Georgie, sported a more conventional ‘short back and sides’ with no moustache in 2020
He may not be the greatest key defender – in an age of huge key forwards – but he is now one of the best interception points in the league and his attack on the football and his desire to do the ‘1%ers’ is an example for others to follow.
“It’s been a totally different journey than probably anyone else in the AFL, but that’s important because it’s given me a good perspective on how good we have it here and set myself up after football,” Collins said.
While the highly trained defender admitted that he would explore avenues in the corporate world after retirement, there is one job he covets above all else.
Although he knows he needs to bring back his now iconic look.
“I would love to work my way back to footy in a General Manager of footy role,” he said.
“So I need to get the system haircut now before going back to the short back and sides.”
Injury kept Collins from playing just nine games in his first Suns season, but he was still named as part of the side’s leadership group the following year.
His fierce character in the defensive 50 propels the side for a top spot in the final after a club-best 10-12 campaign last year that saw them come within reach of the top eight.
So how does the smaller-than-usual defender fire up his teammates and keep the league’s best and biggest forwards at bay?
Sam Collins, pictured with Georgie ahead of the Suns Best and Fairest last year, is now one of the club’s most respected leaders
Collins (pictured playing against Hawthorn last season) is small for a key defender but makes up for it with his ferocious foot strike.
“Some key attackers, you don’t want to pump up,” he said of the target problem.
“But if I’m hard to play on and that’s annoying for them, then I’m doing my job.
“Internally there is no doubt about what we are capable of, but externally that is lagging a bit and that is for them to catch up.
“Teams are starting to respect us, but we have to play our best football and the perception of us will change.”
Gold Coast kick off their season with a big game against 2022 runners-up Sydney Swans on March 18 at home.