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Tom Phillips' bumpy road

Sam Gastin  November 26, 2015 10:02 AM

At home with Tom Phillips Get to know Tom Phillips, who joined Collingwood with pick No. 58 in the 2015 National Draft.
Tom Phillips kicked two goals and was named in Oakleigh's best in the 2015 TAC Cup Grand Final.

Tom Phillips kicked two goals and was named in Oakleigh's best in the 2015 TAC Cup Grand Final.

Some young footballers cruise through local leagues and representative teams without a care in the world as they work their way towards a prospective AFL career.

For Tom Phillips, the ride at the Oakleigh Chargers in Victoria’s TAC Cup was a much more uneasy one.

Recruited to Collingwood with pick No. 58 in the 2015 National Draft, Phillips will depart Oakleigh as a dual premiership player.

However the 186cm half-back didn’t always have things his own way throughout his junior career after being twice ignored by the Chargers.

“I was overlooked and missed out,” Phillips told Collingwood Media on draft night.

“I probably wasn’t ready to take the next step at the end of last year.”

“To get another opportunity this year as a 19-year-old was really good. I loved playing in a premiership… I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”

VIDEO: For The Taking - Collingwood Media's new draft documentary.

After a junior career filled with ups and downs, Phillips shot into draft calculations with a thrilling 2015 season.

In July he accumulated a whopping 44 possessions against the Calder Cannons, while also laying nine tackles and kicking two goals in a losing side.

Two months later with the football world watching he did it again, kicking another two goals from 21 disposals in Oakleigh’s Grand Final victory over the Eastern Rangers.

“I’m a leader on the field,” Phillips said on Tuesday night.

“I love to chat and communicate and that seems to really bring my fierce competitiveness out.

“I’m a pretty versatile player and I’m able to play in all positions. I think that’s the skillset that I have and that I can keep developing at Collingwood.

It was a skillset that clearly caught the eye of Derek Hine and the Magpies’ recruiting staff. After impressing at the National Draft Combine in October, Phillips met with Collingwood for the first time.

“I went into the Holden Centre and had a chat to them for about an hour,” he said.

“I had a bit of a look around the facilities and that was really good to get to know the area and the place. I really enjoyed that experience.”

He was awestruck at the time and expects to once again feel a sense of privilege when he begins training on Friday.

“It’s a massive opportunity, being the biggest sporting club in Australia.

“These guys that I’ve watched on TV growing up, to be training and getting advice and learning and getting off them… that’s what I’ve always wanted to do.”