Life lessons in school of hard knocks, says Priddis

Staff reporterGeraldton Guardian
Former West Coast Eagles star Matt Priddis with Geraldton Primary School student Beau Wilson, 11, front, and Nagle Catholic College students Travis Kirkpatrick, 11, and brother Dylan Kirkpatrick, 13, back.
Camera IconFormer West Coast Eagles star Matt Priddis with Geraldton Primary School student Beau Wilson, 11, front, and Nagle Catholic College students Travis Kirkpatrick, 11, and brother Dylan Kirkpatrick, 13, back. Credit: Tamra Carr

Retired AFL superstar Matt Priddis is big on competition.

Speaking to Geraldton’s sport community last week, Priddis said he wanted Sport Australia — the Commonwealth sport administration and advisory body — to share his attitude.

“I think we might be getting a bit soft,” Priddis said. “We want kids to compete to win, to get knocked over, to get themselves back up and have that experience.

“These days in schools, kids aren’t even allowed on monkey bars. I mean, how are they going to get stronger, or fall off and learn cause and effect?”

Priddis detailed his journey from WAFL player to Brownlow medallist and beyond during a Q&A session at Geraldton Universities Centre, while also answering questions on the state of Australian sport.

One audience member asked Priddis if he thought it was unfair coveted spots in the AFL were being snapped up by American imports.

Priddis said initially he was critical of Australians missing out, but had since deemed the move an opportunity to grow Australia’s top sport.

“Players good enough will get there in the end,” Priddis said. “Think of it as a way of exposing the AFL to a bigger audience.”

While Priddis no longer holds an official AFL role, he is regularly invited by the West Australian Football Commission to speak with WAFL players passed over in the draft.

He is now a finance broker — a career change he said he owed to former teammate Chris Judd.

He said he found it amusing that Chris Judd did not follow most news media but showed a deep interest in financial news.

“I thought ‘What are you doing, you nerd?’,” he said. “But in the end I thought, if Juddy was doing it, then I’m going to do it.”

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