Football, but not as we know it

Linebacker Dylan Matthews makes a rare run with the ball during the Gridiron Australia Future Stars championship.
Linebacker Dylan Matthews makes a rare run with the ball during the Gridiron Australia Future Stars championship. Contributed

IN A country dominated by the football sports of rugby league, AFL, soccer and rugby union, Dylan Matthews has to go to great lengths to get a game of his beloved gridiron.

Matthews, 18, may be about to represent Australia in the sport, but can't get a game in Mackay.

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"I used to live in Brisbane and I've moved here recently to take up a full-time electrical apprenticeship," he said.

"My family moved to Australia from America when I was 13. I played for my school at Oklahoma for three years.

"There is a competition in Brisbane and the other capitals, but there's nothing happening here in Mackay."

Last year Matthews, a linebacker, captained Queensland to third place in the national championships, and attended the Gridiron Australia Future Stars training camp.

Queensland also finished third in the Future Stars championship held during the camp.

Matthews has been selected to represent Australia in the Gridiron World Cup qualifier against American Samoa.

He will go into camp on February 16, ahead of the match scheduled for February 25.

"We've got a week to prepare. If we win that we're in the World Cup in Texas later this year," he said.

Standing 183cm and weighing 105kg, Matthews has the physique of a rugby league front-rower, but said he'd never tried either of the rugby sports.

"The linebacker is a defensive position, you stop the runners and work in defence," he said.

"You've got to be fast and agile to play linebacker; I like that position.

"I do follow the league and rugby when it's on TV, but I've never tried it, I'm not tempted."

He keeps in shape with a home gym, push-ups and running on the beach, and stays in touch with what's happening in the world of gridiron through television.

His favourite team is the Green Bay Packers but unfortunately his side will not feature in the Superbowl - that honour goes to the New England Patriots and the New York Giants.

Matthews already has support from his employer and another company, but all his travel is otherwise self-funded and he's keen for more support.

If you can help, contact him on 0402 447 917.

Topics:  gridiron

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