Kieran Collins is keen to show the footballing world what he’s capable of for the Northern Blues. (Photo: Cristian Filippo)
FOR Kieran Collins, the VFL was always the next thing on the agenda.
After three seasons at the Western Bulldogs, Collins’ AFL ambition burns as hot as ever. Immediately, he decided that he was going to play at the highest level of footy available — and picking a club was just as simple.
As the 194cm key position defender put it, the decision to be a Northern Blue in 2019 came down to one thing.
“The Northern Blues just seemed like a really good fit,” Collins said.
“I’m loving it so far. I’m a few months in now and the boys have been really welcoming and the coaches have been really good.”
No stranger to the VFL competition, Collins will add to the 40 games of experience which he built up at Footscray.
After a taste of senior football in his first season at Whitten Oval, a return to the elite level will drive Collins on in 2019 at his new club.
We're delighted to officially welcome Kieran Collins as a Blue! ????#Northbound
— Northern Blues FC (@NBluesFC) November 15, 2018
“I still want to have another crack at the AFL, we’ll see how that goes next year,” he said.
“The VFL was always going to be the next thing on the cards, to play at the highest level I can.
“For this season, I want to come down here, enjoy my footy, get my body right and have some success here with the Blues. That was the message from ‘Frase’.”
With a number of injuries interrupting him throughout his time at the Kennel, Collins — who only turned 21 in December — has his sights set on a big pre-season laying the right foundations.
And while he thinks he knows where he’ll be playing the majority of his football, he’s open to anything the coaching staff asks of him.
“I think for the most part I’ll be playing my footy down back as a key defender, but hopefully there’s the opportunity to go forward at times and add another string to my bow,” he said.
After being a full-time footballer, the change-up for Collins has been more than simply being at a new club.
He outlined the transition to working during the day and training at night as one he was still getting used to.
“Working through the day and then coming in at night has been a massive one. Training loads drop a bit from full-time footy, but it’s still a high standard and there’s a lot of similarities,” he said.
“Training itself has been pretty challenging, we had a really good block on the other side of Christmas.
“My new teammates are a ripping bunch of guys. I knew no-one coming in, there was a whole bunch of fresh faces but that’s an exciting thing.”
2019 is taking shape – and the curtain raiser could be back on the agenda.
— Northern Blues FC (@NBluesFC) December 19, 2018
From the outside looking in, Collins had formed his own opinion of the Northern: he played against the Blues four times, including in his VFL debut.
With the last three games between the Blues and Dogs being decided by less than two goals, Collins said he was fully aware of Northern’s fight and spirit.
“I obviously played against the Northern Blues and it has always been a challenge, they’re always close games,” he said.
“Looking in, there has always been a talented bunch of footballers and with guys like ‘Hilly’ and ‘Willo’, they’re class acts.
“I can’t wait to start playing with them.”