K rock Football

Paddy gets chance with VFL Pies

St Mary’s star Paddy Dowling will play VFL with Collingwood this weekend. (Marcel Berens Sports Photography Image/Marcel Berens)

PADDY Dowling isn’t giving up on his AFL dream ahead of an appearance at VFL level with Collingwood this weekend.

The St Mary’s livewire will pull on the famous black-and-white stripes in a clash with Box Hill at Victoria Park following a chat with Magpies development coach Scott Selwood.

“I ran into him a couple of weeks ago, and he asked if I wanted to come and have a run-around, and I said, “yeah, no worries. As long as they’re happy for me to come down”,” Dowling, who played four VFL games with Geelong in 2019, said.

“That was before the last (COVID) lockdown. I was expecting to go the week before, and that hit.

“He got me on to (VFL coach) Matty Spangher, and he said, “come down”.

“It was after the lockdown I had the opportunity, which was last night.”

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Dowling, who started the year at SANFL club Glenelg, says he will use playing with Collingwood as an opportunity to decide what he wants to do with his football in 2022.

“I’ll play this one (with Collingwood), then the plan is to play (GFL) against Colac,” he said. “If the top two is settled by then, I’ll play the last GFL game at VFL level.

“It’s probably more of a case for next year if it’s what I want to do, and if I’m happy with them and they’re happy with me as well.”

After returning from South Australia, Dowling has made two appearances with the reigning GFL premier.

He kicked 2.5 in the narrow win over Geelong West before slamming home 8.6 in a massive win over St Albans.

Dowling could not break into Glenelg’s senior team despite averaging 20.5 disposals per game in nine reserve grade appearances.

“I just got to a point where I wasn’t enjoying my footy at all,” he said.

“I was away from home, and I was rocking up to games thinking, “where’s my head at?”

“I thought I’d come back to St Mary’s and play out the rest of the year there, but a small opportunity’s popped up.”

Twitter: @tom_king79