NICK Suban was always destined to succeed in the AFL.
Those who have seen him develop from a youngster running around for Bacchus Marsh, St Patrick’s College, North Ballarat Rebels and now the purple haze of Fremantle, have always known he was something special.
A quiet man off the field, a fierce leader on the park.
Suban was always going to make it to the big time.
Never overly tall, but with a killer left boot in his repertoire, those who saw the eldest brother of three as a young footballer knew he was always going to make it.
Now, the former Bacchus Marsh junior in the Ballarat Football League and North Ballarat Rebel will be running out on football’s biggest day – the AFL grand final.
It is a far cry from his humble beginnings at Maddingley Park and playing junior football at St Patrick’s College in year 7.
But for those in the know, Suban always had what it took.
“He was that far superior to everyone else in year 7 (2003), it was unbelievable,” St Patrick’s first XVIII coach Howard Clark recalled.
“He was probably as talented a kid as I’ve seen at that age group. In year 7 he could kick the ball 50 metres, I’ve hardly seen boys play like that.”
An avid Hawthorn supporter, Clark said seeing his former first XVIII captain win a premiership medal would ease the pain greatly if his beloved Hawks happened to lose.
“He would play in a school footy team and they would be leading by five goals at quarter time. You would put him on the other team and the scores would be level. He was that influential,” Clark said.
While he was dominating for St Patrick’s, Suban was also tearing apart the BFL in the red, black and yellow of Bacchus Marsh.
He has left such a legacy at the club, with younger bothers Mike and Mitch also still playing, that the under-16 best and fairest medal has been named in his honour.
Cobras president Pat Mullen often watched his son, Tom, play at Bacchus Marsh in the same age group as Suban.
“He always stood out in junior footy, no doubt about it,” Mullen said.
“But even still these days, he comes back to the club and helps out with the juniors.
“The club has been friends with the Suban family for a long time.”
Fast forward to his playing days with the North Ballarat Rebels, where Suban earned two selections in the under-18 all-Australian team before getting drafted at pick 24 in the 2008 national draft.
Nick Suban has made it now at AFL level, he is an important member of Fremantle’s team.
With five seasons and 83 games under his belt, the stars seem to be aligning for the 180-centimetre midfielder/defender.
Now, he will be hoping to be part of the Dockers’ first premiership team.