Rookie has sights set on following cousin's lead

With All Australian and St Kilda defender Sean Dempster as his cousin, Logan Austin has the perfect person to pester for advice about what it takes to make it in the AFL.

But the Belconnen Magpies junior believes Dempster gets hassled enough as it is and doesn't like to pester him too much, despite having the chance at Christmas or family events.

''Occasionally when we get to see him, whether it be at family dinners or whatever, I get to talk to him a little bit about it,'' Austin told The Canberra Times. ''I don't like to bother him because he probably gets the questions all the time, but I hear about it enough, my uncle talks to me about it, too.''

Austin is one of hundreds of kids taking part in trials for the Greater Western Sydney academy under-15, under-16 and under-18 squads over the next two weekends.

The Burgmann Anglican School year 12 student sees the Giants academy as the perfect way to fulfil his dream and make it on to an AFL list.

Later in the year the Giants will play the Sydney Swans academy, from which the NSW/ACT Rams under-18 squad will be selected for nationals - where every AFL club will have scouts.


Austin was born in Victoria and moved to Canberra at six, but brought his love for football with him. Unfortunately, the 17-year-old left a state that develops most of the young men drafted by AFL clubs and moved to the ACT, which had zero kids drafted last year. He sees making the Giants academy as a crucial step in changing that.

Austin also views Western Bulldogs forward Jason Tutt and Giants utility Josh Bruce as proof living in Canberra wouldn't stop him from making it at the top level if he's good enough.

''Coming from Canberra [the academy], it's not our only, but it's our main pathway for getting on to an AFL list, whether that be senior or rookie, but it gives us a bit of an opportunity to get scouted by the Giants at these upcoming games, so I'd say it's crucial to us making it further,'' he said.

Brendan Read coaches the Giants ACT South Coast under-18s and felt Austin, a tall forward, was one of at least five Canberra players who would make the Giants' academy side. Jack Steele, Chris Jansen, Tom Faul and Liam Griffiths were the others.

Steele is a tall midfielder with good evasive skills and a good footy brain, while Jansen is a rebounding defender. Faul is an athletic, explosive midfielder who can go forward, while Griffith, who is with the AIS academy, is a midfielder with good speed and endurance.

''I would think at this stage, barring injury or something unforeseen happening anyway, [they'd make it],'' Read said.

''They're pretty good trainers, they're fit, they're fast and really good at footy.''