TWO former Southern Mallee Giants are chasing football glory in Queensland this year.
Samuel Weddell and Jackson Fisher have escaped the baron football landscape in Victoria and are playing for Broadbeach in a shortened QAFL season.
It is Fisher's second season with the club, while Weddell ventured north at the start of this year to play with Aspley in the North Eastern Football League (NEAFL).
The NEAFL was one of Australia's premier football competitions, featuring sides affiliated with AFL clubs Brisbane, Gold Coast, Greater Western Sydney and the Sydney Swans.
However the COVID-19 pandemic impacted border restrictions between the Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales, eventually causing the NEAFL season to be cancelled.
Weddell instead decided to join his former Giants teammate at Broadbeach.
"It doesn't really worry me too much (that the NEAFL was cancelled)," Weddell said.
"The QAFL is pretty strong this year anyway, because a lot of NEAFL players have dropped back, so it's stronger than it normally would be. It's good footy."
Weddell has been a star in the Wimmera Football League for the last several seasons, finishing second in the 2019 Toohey Medal vote count.
He said the standard of football in the QAFL was a significant step up.
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"It's a fair bit better," he said.
"I've managed a couple of good games, but nothing special just yet.
"We only sort of got four weeks of pre-season training in before the first game, just because of the restrictions. So that made it a bit hard.
"I probably lost a bit of fitness more than anything, so that's coming back now.
"It's just good to be back playing footy."
While Weddell was humble about his own performance, his team has been flying.
Broadbeach is currently second on the ladder, undefeated after four games and with a healthy percentage of 236.
"It's been not too bad so far," he said.
"We haven't played the other top two teams yet, so that will test us.
"There are only eight rounds this season so hopefully we can keep winning."
Off the field, Weddell has found work as a plumber on the Gold Coast and said he had been enjoying his time up north.
"I was pretty lucky, I struggled getting work for a little while but I got this job and it's been good," he said.
"It started off looking like my move up here came at the wrong time with footy and all of that, but it's going alright at the moment. There aren't many cases (of COVID-19) up here and the weather is pretty good in winter.
"It's about 21, beautiful and sunny today. I knew winter was pretty good up here but I didn't realise it was this good."
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