Southport has snapped up former Gold Coast forward Connor Nutting following two years on the SUNS’ list.
The Broadbeach junior came through the club’s academy ranks to earn a place on Gold Coast’s list in the 2017 NAB AFL Draft, but couldn’t break into the AFL side.
After weighing up his options, Nutting believes Southport will give him the best chance to get back into the AFL system, signing on the dotted line today.
“It feels like the right spot for me,” Nutting told neafl.com.au.
“I think the competition is getting a lot stronger and I feel like I’ve got just a good a chance of getting back into the AFL through the NEAFL as I would in another competition.
“Being on the coast and continuing studying, and being close to friends and family… it was easier to decide to stay here.”
Beginning with Carrara juniors in the under-12s, Nutting progressed to Broadbeach and the SUNS Academy at 15 and represented the Allies in his draft year, whilst also playing nine games for the SUNS in the NEAFL as a rebounding defender.
A dream come true after he was taken with pick 55 in the draft, it’s been a trying time at the club for Nutting as he failed to play an AFL game.
But the 20-year-old says he has learned plenty from the experience and sees his home in the forward line at the Sharks.
“I think just the overall professionalism was the biggest thing I learned at Gold Coast, and the elite standards you have to uphold 24/7 to be at that level,” he said.
“I’m looking to line up in the forward line and possibly through the midfield if I get the chance.
“Even though I was drafted a backman and able to swing both ends, I feel most comfortable in the forward line where I can be dangerous and use my assets and skills.”
The Gold Coast connection continues at Southport with Nutting joining a host of former SUNS players from both the AFL list and academy at the Sharks, including co-captains Andrew Boston and Seb Tape, Matt Shaw, Ryan Davis and Mackenzie Willis.
It’s this connection that has Nutting feeling at home already as he prepares for a new chapter in his career.
“Half the guys there I know personally and have played with or against at some stage in my career,” he said.
“Fitting into the squad will be pretty seamless which is good and makes things a lot easier.
“I think having that past experience with some of those guys, I know what I’m going in to.
“From what they’ve been able to do the past couple of years being in the Grand Final twice, it’s exciting to be a part of a strong team like that, and it will be good to play with some of my old mates again and enjoy next year.”
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