ONBALLER Brent Van Gils has seized a chance to take his game to state level.
He is relishing every tough training session with SANFL club Glenelg this pre-season after leaving Sebastopol.
“The step up is unreal. It’s harder than anything I’ve done before in footy,” Van Gils said.
“It’s a huge step up in fitness and I’ve already noticed the difference.”
A taste of state-level footy a couple of summers ago left Van Gils hungry to see how far he could take his game.
He trained with Victorian Football League club Werribee and was named as a Tigers’ rookie but was lured back to Sebastopol.
Van Gils, 23, played a key midfield role with Sebastopol’s seniors after he was promoted from the Kookaburras’ junior program as a 16-year-old.
He has chalked up about 90 Ballarat Football League senior games and felt it was time for a change.
A catch-up with long-time Ballarat friend Andrew Hooper, a former Western Bulldog now Glenelg vice-captain, made him start to realise playing state football could be a possibility again.
“I had that taste of state footy and realised how much I wanted to try it,” Van Gils said.
“Coffee with Hoops had me thinking about progressing my football again as a bit of an option.”
Van Gils made the move about a month ago and has quickly settled into the relaxed Adelaide lifestyle by the beach.
Serving behind the bar at a few Glenelg club sponsors’ nights has already helped Van Gils meet the Tigers’ faithful.
He is working hard to earn the chance to step out on field before a roaring Tiger army.
“Everyone’s been so lovely and welcoming. It’s unreal how passionate they all are about their football, from the fans to the players and coaching staff,” Van Gils said.
“I’m just grateful for the experience.”