McDougall 's journey continues

Article By: Andrew Owen | Photo By: SFC Staff

Andrew McDougall says it’s a relief to be playing football again after a nightmare run of injuries has seen him sidelined since August 2011.  Osteitis pubis and two labral tears have made life tough for 20 months but since undergoing surgery and completing six months of rehab, he is now enjoying a new lease on life, this time with his new club Subiaco.

After a career that’s had its fair share of injuries no one would blame McDougall for focusing on a career outside of football.  However his desire to get back and play some consistent football, successful surgery and the move to Subiaco, have reignited his commitment and passion for the game.  “I love being at Subiaco, it’s probably the closest thing I’ve had to the Eagles in a while.  Being at Subiaco, everyone’s professional and really proud to be a Subiaco player and all the boys are really committed.”

McDougall is no stranger to football clubs.  He made his league debut for the Perth Demons in 2000 and at the end of that year was picked up by the West Coast Eagles.  However as he recalls there was some nervous moments in the lead up to his name being called out.  “I knew that West Coast had pick five and they said they were going to take me at pick five so that was pretty exciting.  Collingwood had pick three and they were 50/50 and once we got past them it was good and West Coast followed through and called out my name and the rest is history.”

One of the biggest hurdles McDougall faced early on in his Eagles career was adjusting to the training load required of an AFL footballer.  “The strength and conditioning department and even the coaching department ease the boys in now and they go through different training methods with first years, second years and third years.  When I was there you’d do almost everything.”

After working hard in his first couple of years at the club McDougall broke into the Eagles side in 2004 and had a breakout year.  He played 21 games that season and kicked 35 goals.  Finally things were falling into place, or so it seemed.  In the first game of the 2005 season against the Adelaide Crows McDougall injured his shoulder during the first quarter.  “I got hit by Tyson Edwards and from there I didn’t go back on and I missed a couple of weeks.  The Eagles I think won their first 3-4 games and were on a bit of a streak and I was then back in the WAFL.  From there I was just trying to get back into the team the whole year.”

As everyone knows the Eagles made the grand final that year and narrowly lost to the Sydney Swans by four points.  The following year was a similar story for McDougall and at the end of the year he decided to move to Melbourne and try his luck over there.  “I went to the Western Bulldogs for two years and then that was a bit patchy and almost similar to my time at West Coast.  Once that happened I lost a bit of faith.”

After realising his time in the AFL system as a player was done McDougall decided to take a year off.  “It got to the point where I just felt that I needed a year off mentally and physically just to take myself out of the game and try to get back and enjoy it if I am going to play again.  I went travelling a bit and started doing a few different things like courses and just getting back to basics really and taking time off just to chill out.”

Outside of football McDougall is a full time Player Manager at Corporate Sports Australia.  One of his main responsibilities there is to look after the younger players that are coming through the system.  “I’ve had a lot of experience, good and bad, in AFL and also in WAFL, so I know a lot of the loop holes and different ways careers can go and things like that.”

McDougall plans on staying involved with the company after his playing days are finished, as he doesn’t believe coaching is his thing.  However he does like to see players grow and develop.  “If I can help the players make the right choices and I always tell the players the things I might have done wrong or some of the things I might have done right and just guide them a little bit.”

McDougall says he felt proud to pull on a Subiaco guernsey and is desperate to help the Lions claw their way back up the WAFL ladder .“I think I’ll bring good leadership experience and I think I can help the young players develop and mentor the boys, particularly some of the young ruckmen coming through.  I hope I can play a bit forward and get around the ball.”

McDougall was named in the Lions best against his old side Perth on Saturday, finishing with 18 disposals and 22 hit outs.



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