Inverloch-Kongwak footballer Dylan Clark tried out for reality TV show, ‘The Recruit’, earlier this year. He made it to the final stage of the application process before being cut from the competition.
By Mitch Guy
INVERLOCH’S Dylan Clark went from pouring beers at The Esplanade Hotel to having the chance to win an AFL contract when he tried out for ‘The Recruit’ earlier this year.
‘The Recruit’ is a reality TV show on FOX 8 that will follow 13 ‘Recruits’ who will live and play together as a team, while at the same time competing against each other in order to win the prize of a guaranteed AFL contract.
The show is hosted by AFL personality Ryan ‘Fitzy’ Fitzgerald and the recruits are coached by Brisbane Lions champion Michael Voss.
Dylan, 24, came up through the junior ranks at Inverloch-Kongwak, progressing to the senior side where he has become a key player for the Sea Eagles.
It was his desire to play AFL football that saw him give ‘The Recruit’ a go.
“I’ve always wanted to do it but didn’t really have a go when I was younger,” he said.
“I was quite smaller and a bit of a late bloomer.”
It was also his love of the Brisbane Lions that inspired him to join the competition.
“Michael Voss was my hero so that was a bit of an incentive,” he said.
The application process for the show began at Christmas time last year which included an intensive online application.
The application involved sharing details about your life and information in regards to sport and footy, as well as references for your football ability.
After approximately 1000 applicants, the show welcomed 180 footballers from around Australia to a testing day in March at the Collingwood’s training ground, the Westpac Centre.
The players were put through two hours of circuit testing which tested different aspects of football such as speed, kicking, power, strength and game sense.
Following the testing, players were interviewed by the producers of the show and put through a 150-question psychology test.
The applicants then faced a month of waiting before 50 applicants were notified that they had been chosen to come to a try out day at the beginning of April.
Dylan said that no-one really knew how many people were in the competition at that stage.
“We went down and stayed at a hotel in Melbourne,” he said.
“It was quite secretive; no one knew what was going on.”
The next morning the group was taken to Etihad Stadium in Docklands to film the introduction for the show.
Following the filming, the players were faced with their first assessment.
The group was instructed to grab a 10kg concrete block, write down their values on the block and then carry the block whilst running to the MCG.
Dylan said this challenge was very difficult.
“It was a battle to get through the last 500m to get to the MCG, and then we had to do another lap of the MCG,” he said.
“It was mentally and physically draining, it was such an awkward thing to carry.
“You wanted to drop the brick but knew you couldn’t.”
Dylan finished middle of the pack for the challenge, with four players already out of the competition showing the cut throat nature of ‘The Recruit’.
The remaining players then spent Tuesday morning at Port Melbourne beach for a recovery session before a practice match at Victoria Park on Wednesday.
Dylan felt he held his own in the match.
“Everyone was having a fair old crack; everyone knew it was their chance to perform.
“I thought I did alright across half forward and the midfield, I thought I beat my opponent.
“From the game I thought I’d done enough to get through to the next stage.”
He survived the next stage of the competition as the squad was whittled down to 22 players after the practice match, with the final 13 to be announced on the Friday.
The players arrived at Etihad Stadium early Friday morning and Dylan made it through the first delisting of the day before the players were interviewed on camera.
Usually a composed player on the footy field, the nerves hit Dylan at this stage of the competition.
“I had the shakes and was sweating, even when you’re in the company of people like Michael Voss,” he said.
“I had to do a few retakes in the interview process.”
Unfortunately Dylan did not make the final cut and was left to return to his job as manager of The Espy.
Despite being cut from the competition, the experience has given Dylan the enthusiasm to explore options at higher level.
“Next year if they run the competition again I’ll apply and I might try my luck in the VFL,” he said.
“I’d like to have a crack so if I’m going to do it I’ve got to do it now.”
Dylan featured on the first episode of ‘The Recruit’ that screened last week wearing his Inverloch-Kongwak jumper but was given little screen time on the show.
He has been an important player for the Sea Eagles this season and will be looking to continue his good form heading into the finals.