Dragons forward Ollie Lord has always loved a challenge.
Lord played spent the majority of his junior football career at the Caulfield Bears where he played up multiple age groups to test himself, before moving to East Brighton in U15’s to seek a better standard.
The 195cm prospect is as pure as they come in terms of genuine full forwards, boasting outstanding athleticism and a vice-like grip.
“My biggest strength would be my marking, especially on the lead,” he said.
But Lord is not a one trick pony – displaying a far greater skillset than merely being an aerial threat.
“I pride myself on making good decisions when the ball is on the ground and my follow up work,” he said.
The Dragons product was as disappointed as anyone regarding the lack of football in 2020, but Lord put his head down and after some honest reflection – he’s better for it.
“It’s been a bit of a struggle at times but it’s helped me as a player who probably needed a bit of work,” he said.
“I’ve been able hit the last few months pretty hard building my endurance and strength, and then more recently working on my positioning and footwork with my marking.
“It allowed me to hone in on the aspects I needed to get better at and I’ve come away a vastly better player than I was at the start of the year.”
Lord will have a chance to show just how much he has improved over this period at the draft combine where he is looking forward to the 2km time trial and vertical jump test.
But some one-on-one work with Josh Bourke has kept his football specific skills in fine touch.
“I’ve worked pretty closely with Josh Bourke on my marking craft and body positioning,” he said.
“As a bit more of a lean and agile player I need to use my body smartly to develop me into a better player.”
The talent speaks highly of the Dragons program which he joined at a young age, saying there has been no shortage of motivation to make his dream become a reality.
“When I was a young bloke in the Dragons program, watching Max and Ben King in action at training and games was really cool and inspiring,” he said.
“Even training and playing last year with Fischer McAsey and Jack Bell was a good eye opener for me to see what I had to do this year to hopefully end up like they did.”
Lord details a conversation with Steve Nash in the U16’s program at the Dragons in which he recounts Nash telling him to ‘have a crack’ as a pivotal moment in instilling self-belief.
“Not getting selected in the Vic Metro team in U16’s was probably the turning point and really drove me to get better,” he said.
It was a small price to pay for the player he has become – a versatile forward with serious potential, and a mature head on his shoulders to go with it.