Jack Bowes content to be in draft spotlight

NERVOUS WAIT: There are high expectations Jack Bowes will end up at the Gold Coast Suns, but he says the club has been keeping him in suspense.
NERVOUS WAIT: There are high expectations Jack Bowes will end up at the Gold Coast Suns, but he says the club has been keeping him in suspense. Scott Barbour

AFL: Though still to be drafted, Jack Bowes is already accustomed to the demands of the modern-day AFL footballer, including dealing with the press.

The 18-year-old from Cairns has become an accomplished media performer, having appeared on shows such as Fox Footy's AFL360, even before he officially joins the big league.

He will be front and centre tomorrow morning too for a press conference organised by the AFL ahead of the prestigious national draft in Sydney.

"I guess that's what you've got to deal with these days,” he tells Australian Regional Media.

"You can't really hide from it. You've got to embrace it.

"There was a couple of workshops in the NAB AFL Academy which ran through media.

"You do get a few cliches thrown at you here and there that you can use.

"I know a few of the other boys are doing very well at it.” 

The positive in all of this is the fact for some time now Bowes has been seen as a guaranteed selection at tomorrow night's draft.

In fact, after a sensational national under-18 series when captaining Queensland, the classy midfielder's name will be read out early, potentially as the highest draft pick the Sunshine State has produced since Nick Riewoldt was No.1 in 2000.

"You feel pretty fortunate to be in that position,” he said. "You're able to sit a little bit more comfortably than some of the boys are.”

It appears a fait accompli that he will end up at the Gold Coast. After all, he has been apart of the Suns academy since he was a raw 13-year-old from the Cairns Saints, when then doubling as a representative futsal player.

The Brisbane Lions may bid for him with their No.3 pick, or even Sydney at pick No.9, but the Gold Coast can trump those with any one of their four picks in the top 10 (4, 6, 8 and 10), having already nominated him.

"I've got fair understanding of how it (the bidding system and the allocation of points) all works,” he said. "Being an academy player you have to grasp it.

"I understand where it's at and what lies ahead of me... (but) I actually haven't heard anything from them (the Suns) yet - they're definitely keeping me on my toes.

"You go into the draft on the edge of your seat, in the same position as all the other boys. I kind of like it like that.”

Bowes runs the repeat sprint test during the NAB AFL Draft Combine at Etihad Stadium in October.
Bowes runs the repeat sprint test during the NAB AFL Draft Combine at Etihad Stadium in October. Adam Trafford/AFL Media

Bowes, who has lived on the Gold Coast away from family for the past two years and been playing club football with Surfers Paradise while finishing high school and then attending university, admits he already feels like a Suns player. He even ran out for few games in the reserve with them this year.

"I liken it (the Suns academy) to being like an under-18s side at your local footy club,” he said.

"It's been great, getting an insight into the club.”

As the best player in the division two of the national under-18 titles - earning him the Hunter Harrison medal - Bowes has followed in the footsteps of previous winners Ben Keays (2015) and Isaac Heeney (2014) and further back Grant Birchall (2005) and Michael Voss (1992).

"It was something I built towards after I missed out last year with injury (knee),” he explained.

"I wanted to make the most of it this year. I'm just pretty lucky I played some consistent footy through that patch.” 

Bowes, 187cm, has been likened to both Scott Pendlebury and Nick Dal Santo as a player with the ability to play "inside” as an onballer or "outside” as a ball carrier.

As a St Kilda fan growing up, though, his hero was Lenny Hayes, who he ran into on an AFL Academy trip to New Zealand earlier this year.

"I was caught in the moment a little ... starstruck I guess,” he said. "I didn't have a chance to ask any questions ... I probably should've.”

That's something he will have to get used to, with the brains of Suns skipper Gary Ablett to pick.

"I guess you daydream about it most days leading up to the draft,” Bowes said.

"What could be .... it's all very exciting.”

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