Q & A: Todd Marshall

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 24: Todd Marshall of the Allies listens in during the Under 18 Championship match between the Allies and Vic Metro at Etihad Stadium on June 24, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)

Todd Marshall
Position: Forward
Local Club: Deniliquin Rams Football Club

This October Deniliquin’s Todd Marshall will join his 10 teammates from the NSW/ACT Rams when he heads to the 2016 NAB AFL Draft Combine. The Combine brings the best young talent to one place for a final round of testing, ahead of the 2016 NAB AFL Draft in Sydney later in the year. Marshall will travel to Etihad Stadium Melbourne, to be tested from October 6 to October 9

How does it feel to be nominated by 5 or more clubs for the 2016 NAB National Combine?
It’s a great privilege to be recognised by the clubs, but obviously there’s a lot of work to do before and after the combine. I have a few nerves but am mostly looking forward to the opportunity that I have been given.

You will join 10 other NSW/ACT players which is the highest ever invitees, is comforting to know that your team mates from the NSW/ACT Rams will join you?
I got to know most of the boys really well over both carnivals, so to be able to be a part of another experience with them is great and can’t wait to catch up with them again.

AFL Talent Manager Kevin Sheehan said “he has real AFL talents…”, what is it like to be nationally recognised in the media?
It’s obviously an honour to have people of such high calibre say those things about you, but you have to remain grounded and focus on what you can control.

How did you think you performed through the 2016 NAB AFL National Championships in both Division 1 and Division 2?
I thought I played well in Division 2, but would’ve liked to have had more of an impact throughout the Division 1 Championships. The Allies was a new concept and it probably took most boys a game or two to understand each other’s games and play the way Tadgh (Allies Coach) wanted us too.

What are some things you do to prepare for important games or testing like the 2016 NAB National Combine?
Being in a finals now for TAC Cup, the main focus is getting my body right to be able to perform as well as I can on a weekend. Recovering well is important to allow myself to get even a little bit of an edge on Saturday.

The clubs will not only watch you during the testing but will conduct interviews, which one do you feel is more difficult?
The testing will obviously be more physically draining, but interviews can take you out of your comfort zone a little, but it is all part of the experience. I think the key is to just relax and be yourself in front of the clubs so that they can get a clearer understanding of what I’m like as a person outside of football.

How do you feel about potentially moving across the country and moving away from your friends and family?
It’s obviously a little bit daunting knowing that I could potentially move away as an 18 year old, but that’s the risk you have to take to pursue a dream.

How do you balance it all? Doing your HSC, potential elite AFL career and as well as trying to be a normal teenager?
It has been a hectic year with Division 1 and Division 2 Championships, so it has been a little difficult in trying to manage both. My family, friends, and the Deniliquin community have been a great support network for me, so I’d like to thank them personally.

You were selected in the NSW talent academy for cricket, which lead you to be chosen to tour England as part of the Australian Combined High School team, what made you give up cricket and focus more on AFL?
I always enjoyed playing footy more as you got to play with your friends for the Deni Rams, but I guess I was exposed to more opportunities with cricket. When I was 16 I was planning to focus more on football, but was selected for a tour of the UK which made me continue to play cricket until then. But when I returned from that trip, I decided that that was going to be my last representative cricket commitment and Mum and Dad were fully supportive of that which made it easier to transition.

You are playing this weekend with the Murray Bushrangers for the TAC Cup Preliminary Final against Oakleigh Chargers, how do you think you will go?
We played them about a month ago and they won by about 2 goals. There isn’t a lot between the teams and Oakleigh are obviously a powerhouse of the TAC Cup, so it is going to be a good game. I think if we play to what we are capable of we will win our way into a Grand Final.

What would it mean to you if the Bushrangers made the Grand Final and you walked away with the 2016 Premiership?
It will be very, very fulfilling for not only the players but for the Bushrangers staff who have spent countless hours investing into us. It’s very exciting for everyone around the club and as our head coach reminds us of, “We can leave a legacy”.