Witts no longer a deer in the headlights

When Gold Coast captain, Jarrod Witts, walked through Collingwood’s doors after being taken at number 67 in the 2011 draft, he didn’t know what had hit him.

“To be honest I was a deer in the headlights…I’d played maybe 30 games of AFL all up,” he told the Play On podcast. “I had no idea what I was walking into. I didn’t understand the magnitude of footy and what comes with it.”

That “deer” was less like Bambi and more like a Bullwinkle the moose. The 208-centimetre giant also referred to himself as a “below average player” and is grateful for the opportunities the Pies gave him.

But the St Ives boy from Barker College (and Sydney Uni in seniors) has well and truly delivered on the athletic gifts he was born with. Witts’ time at Collingwood saw him competing for a spot in the senior side with generational ruck, Brodie Grundy, and he believes he was better for it.

Moving to the Gold Coast allowed him to take the lessons and the strength gained from playing and training alongside Grundy and mould himself into a star of the competition.

In 2019 Witts claimed the Suns’ best and fairest. He amassed more than 1,000 hitouts that year, averaging more than 45 per game. He also averaged 15 disposals and three tackles a match, proving himself a force at ground level around stoppages.

2021 was a year Witts would prefer to forget. He ruptured his ACL early in the season, meaning he had to watch his side battle through the year from the sidelines.

A captain who leads by example, Witts is looking forward to what 2022 brings for his club and its ambitions to play finals.


You can hear Witts’ interview with Ryan O’Keefe and Simon Smyth on the Play On podcast on the player below, Spotify or Apple Podcasts.