The ice-cold waters and southerly Antarctic winds of Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay are a long way removed from Perth’s picturesque Scarborough beach.
Not that it seems to matter too much for new Dragon, Logan Young.
The 19-year-old, who joined Sandringham in 2021 after moving over from Western Australia, is a regular in the ocean as part of recovery and during his spare time, embracing the stillness of his surrounds to switch-off from the world around him.
“The day before, and the day of the game, I go to the beach just to clear my mind and make my legs feel fresh,” Young said.
“It’s a good change (from Scarborough) because there’s not many waves.
“For recovery it’s perfect because I’m not catching waves, I’m there to just do a few little walks, so it’s actually a good change.
“It’s bloody freezing though, I’ll tell you that much.”
Having only moved to Melbourne in February, Young is in a unique position compared to the rest of the Dragons squad. Western Australia was largely unaffected by the pandemic in 2020, and as such, football competitions were given the green light across the state.
Representing Claremont in the Western Australian Football League (WAFL) Colts competition, Young captained the Tigers to a place in the Grand Final, playing in eight home-and-away fixtures and two finals on his way to winning the club best-and-fairest and placing sixth in the league count.
Unfortunately, his stellar season wasn’t enough for him to be selected in the 2020 draft, despite a number of clubs showing interest in him.
Rather than go back to the WAFL system and try his luck again in 2021, Young decided that the time was right to act on an ambition he’d harbored for a number of years and make the move across the country to footy-mad Melbourne.
“During  I asked my Dad, ‘What are the possibilities that I just go and play football in Melbourne and see how I go, hopefully in the VFL?’. But I got into contact with St Kilda Football Club and they proposed an opportunity to play at the Sandy Dragons and hopefully get a game at the (Sandringham) Zebras (St Kilda’s VFL affiliate), and I took that with both hands.”
At 190 centimetres and 84 kilograms, Young’s size is noticeable at the contest, and his best position is in the Dragons’ engine room.
This season he is aiming to become more dangerous around goals, on the back of feedback from AFL clubs as to what can set him apart from the rest of the talent pool. And with three goals from his first three games in the NAB League, he is well on his way to achieving that ambition.
With a distinguished martial arts career under his belt, Young knows a thing or two about reaching the elite level.
He achieved the red belt, the top rank in kung fu, at age 10, making him the youngest in Western Australia to have reached the feat. With that accomplished, he transitioned to Brazilian jui jitsu, where he made an immediate impact, placing second in the 2013 State Championships.
With such emphasis on practice, discipline and focus in martial arts, particularly kung fu, Young says that those principles have helped shape his approach to footy.
“When I come to footy I’m there to train at 100%, I’m not there to stuff-around, I’m there to give it everything I’ve got. That’s probably the value that it instilled in me the most.
“And discipline; if you want to make it somewhere, you’ve got to sacrifice things to get to places you want to go, you can’t just expect that because you’re good at something that you’re going to make it the furthest, you’ve got to keep working at it and keep grinding until you get to the best you can.
“And that’s definitely happened with kung fu. It did take five years to get to the top level but once I got there, and I was training at kung fu from five to 10, three to four times a week just to get to the top belt
“It was worth it in the end.”
Those values of determination and hard work was often overlooked by his rivals in Western Australia, with many quick to point-out Young’s father’s significance, and casting aspersions on the validity of his football credentials as a result.
Colin Young is Head of Player representation at Corporate Sports Australia. With many high-profile Western Australian players and sporting identities on the books at CSA, including Jeremy McGovern, Jack Darling and Justin Longmuir, Young is considered by many to be one of the most influential people in Western Australian football.
The incessant reminders from opponents and critics throughout his teenage years was difficult to escape, and was cited it as a significant factor in his decision to leave the Perth bubble and escape to the relative anonymity of the Melbourne footy melting-pot.
“If word would come around that people are saying ‘he only made that team because of his Dad’, and that always comes at the back of my mind, ‘shit, am I only here because of my Dad?’.”
“That’s what I love about Melbourne; no one cares about who you’re related to or what you’re being, they just respect you off your game and your player level.
“It’s legit the best decision I’ve ever made, coming here, because no one cares; It’s just about how you perform and you’re surrounded by good players who have the same goal as you, and that’s getting drafted.
“The talent pool over here is next-level, it’s ridiculous.”
His transition across the country has been helped by living with a familiar face in St Kilda’s Bradley Hill, a client of Young’s father and a long-time mentor to Young.
He cites both Hill, and Collingwood’s Chris Mayne as two players who have gone out of their way help him settle into Melbourne life, as well as offering coaching tips and insights into life at the elite level.
Having represented North Melbourne in the VFL this year and having a run against some senior, hardened bodies, Young is ticking all the right boxes in order to put his name forward for the draft, come the end of the year.
One thing for sure is that he’s going to leave no stone unturned.
“It’s been a childhood dream of mine, I’ve always wanted to make it.
“With me, when I have a goal, I never give up until I’ve reached it. Definitely not getting drafted (motivates me), obviously I’m not going to give up because I didn’t get drafted one year, you can get drafted at any year.
“It’s just that’s self-belief that I’ve got that drive in me to continue to keep going.”