By JEFF STEPHENSON
YOUNGSTER Daniel Fleming came within a whisker of a dream-start to his Redland career when the Bombers failed by one straight kick to draw with defending premiers Southport last week, but he’s confident that on that showing the tide is about to turn.
The Maroochydore small forward impressed in his debut with two goals and was the recipient afterwards of the club’s “Goal-of-the-Match” award.
His debut was as impressive as the award was well and truly deserved.
Daniel made the long drive to Victoria Point and other destinations in the pre-season not missing one session and has continued the journey back and forth to every training session this season, while playing with the Maroochydore Roos until his ever-welcoming call-up.
To be fair, he and another Sunshine Coast product Soul Cormick, have car-pooled these last few months, but it still requires huge lashings of persistence and dedication to stick out Daniel’s bid to play at the highest level he possibly can.
He was reasonably satisfied with his debut coming off the bench and getting involved in doing what he does best – tackling, chasing down the hard-ball get and simply getting into the tough contest whenever he could.
“That’s the game I like to play – I love the contest and I see myself as the type to get in for the hard ball,” the 19-year-old said.
He says he was inspired to make the constant trekking to Redland as he wants “to play the best footy I can”.
As a Brisbane Lions Academy member (he played seven games with the Lions in the NEAFL last season) Daniel had dared to dream that he would capture the eye of the AFL scouts and win a slot on the draft list.
He thinks a couple of ill-timed injuries that caused him to miss a few key games might have unhinged that plan for the present.
The apprentice carpenter says his long-awaited introduction to the Bombers’ NEAFL ranks last Sunday was “something special”.
“To be presented my jumper by Adam Boon, who is a legend with the club, well that was a really big thrill.
“It was pretty special.”
His opening foray to his Redland career – 10 possessions, 4 tackles and two goals, coming off the bench – was a more-than-handy contribution.
“Yeah, I think I went okay. But I’ve got to bring it each week.
“I’d love to hang on to my spot for the rest of the season.
“I really like it here and the boys are great – they’ve welcomed me all the way.
“We were a bit unlucky against Southport, but we’re confident we can grab another win when we play Northern Territory.”
If there’s a couple of attributes that help someone stand out in the crowd it’s big helpings of P and D – persistence and determination.
Daniel has demonstrated he’s got an abundance of both.
It was Calvin Coolidge, the 30th president of the United States, who famously declared:
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence and determination. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not: unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts.
“Persistence and dedication alone are omnipotent.”
They were powerful words in the 1920s.
They are just as powerful today.
Stick with them Daniel – you’ll go a long way.