Family link but Cornell to make it on his own merits

Jock Cornell

Jock Cornell

As the nephew of Essendon’s famous Daniher brothers and the cousin of Joe Daniher, not only does young Mangoplah Cookardina United Eastlakes footballer Jock Cornell have the bloodlines to play AFL, but he also has the inside word on the sort of commitment that it requires to make it in the big league.

A regular correspondent with cousin and current Essendon key forward Joe, Cornell is more than enthused at the prospect of joining Australia’s elite football competition, but is well aware that there are no certainties when it comes to the draft.

Cornell believes he had a reasonably good season playing with the NSW/ACT Rams in the TAC Cup under 18 competition and national under 18 championships, but believes he has a lot more to show.

At 187cm, Jock spent most of the season pitting himself up against several of the country’s best young talents as well as having a few matches for MCUE in the Riverina Football League under his uncle Chris.

Even after coming off a heavy Riverina Football League grand final defeat at the hands of Collingullie Glenfield Park, Cornell’s mum Julie – a fair sportsperson in her own right – was amazed at just how much he loves his footy.

“He was out there kicking the footy with his younger brother the day after the grand final”, she said.

Cornell first rose to prominence after a strong display for NSW/ACT in the national under 16 championships in Sydney two years ago.

During that carnival, he booted five goals against Tasmania and four against Northern Territory. At that stage Cornell had already been playing senior football with Ungarie in the Northern Riverina Football League.

Just recently, Jock realised a childhood dream when on October 3, he ran out onto the MCG for an Allies under 18 team which came up against the NAB AFL Academy under 17 team and by his own admission he had a reasonable game.

Should Cornell not get picked up in the national draft on Tuesday then there is always the the pre-season/rookie draft on Friday, December 4.

The polite, softly spoken former Mater Dei College student is no stranger in having to overcome adversity.

He and his brother lost their father Mark a couple of years ago and it is something which is very real for Jock and the family who have called Wagga home for the last couple of years.

They still make the trek back to the family property at Ungarie on a relatively regular basis and the draft prospect is forever grateful to the small community for giving him his love of football.

“There isn’t a great deal to do in the country unless you play sport, so it (playing AFL) is something that I have always wanted to do from a very early age”, he said.

With the draft rapidly approaching, Cornell has been doing everything he possibly can to maintain a solid fitness base ahead of the draft. He is not sure what the recruiters are thinking, but realises that it is out of his hands now.

One draft expert has predicted that Cornell, a 187cm utility who describes his “kicking, speed and agility” as his greatest assets, could get picked up by a club such as Port Adelaide who has pick number 48 in the national draft, but of course only time will tell.

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