Hong Kong Dragons President Jake McCauley is an outstanding and well credentialed leader, a highly educated individual and more importantly is a brilliant bloke! ?
During this podcast we’ll go behind the scenes and find out more about what makes the man affectionately know as the ?, including his educational background and his pre-HK days, his involvement and success as a HK Dragon and his passion and love for endurance challenges, extreme sports, sports of leisure and travel. ?
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Footy clubs played for: Surfers Paradise Demons, Darwin Buffalos, Unimu Magpies, South Alice Springs and Fitzroy Stars were my last club, an Aboriginal club in the Northern footy league. And up in Hong Kong I’ve played for the mighty Typhoons.
Preferred position: Surprisingly from a very young age, when I was at Surfer’s Paradise Demons I wanted to be Wayne Carey as North Melbourne were always on Friday night footy, before that coming from Adelaide number 6 – Modra as he was standing on shoulders. But as soon as I got thrown back I loved it! One of my more humurous junior stories: in about under 11s we were in our first year as under 13s, we got beaten in a 50 minute match like 241 to 0. I got the McDonalds award because I was full back and I got 37 kicks, got the Happy Meal and leather poisioning!
Favorite number: It was always 18 because of Carey, but somehow it’s changed to 2, 2 is my lucky number.
Best player in AFL Asia: I play with him, Sam Agars, you’ve just got to watch him – last near nearly single handedly dragged us to the Champs. He’s commonly referred to as ‘the Difference’, when he came here he promised us 4 flags and I think he’s only won 1, maybe none so he’s got some work to do before we put him out to pasture!
Best team mates: Geez that’s a long list, on or off the ground? What I love about the Dragons is that there’s no us and them mentality. Whether it’s on the field at training or playing SCAFL off the field from our best player down to our newest or worst player and in between everyone’s treated as equal. So some of my best mates play in the Darkside Dragons, you mentioned (Will) Sandman who we’ve lost to Vietnam, he’ll be a bit pickup for you guys. It’s really off the field, you’ve got some Hall of Famers like Josh Hammon Mahoney, Christian Cook was best on ground in Vietnam – Hashtag Bogut – I could go on and on… Daz Whitfield, the old dog, when we went to Singapore a couple of years ago, which has commonly been referred to as the ‘Treat Yourself’ tour, all the boys will like that little in joke! But there’s honestly too many to name. Losing stalwarts like Wino
Most annoying team mates: I would have said Barbs but Barbs isn’t here any more. So hopefully that makes its way back. As much as we love him. There’s not too many that are too annoying. The others probably say me after I’ve had 1000.
Most difficult opponents: Opponents, naturally last year, I’ll put an asterix. Obviously PNG, just really young, fit, well coached. I was really surprised by their footy IQ. I thought as a defender I’d be able to have a field day intercepting. But they lowered their eyes and used it well. Outside of them, Singapore’s a healthy rival of ours. We love touring down there. There’s a natural synergy. Alot of Singapore boys relocate to Hong Kong for work and vice versa.
Playing at Full Back there’s some really decent forwards running around. Aaron Edwards, Nashy, the big tall guy from Bali who used to play a bit of WAFL. There’s some serious players running around.
Best AFL Asia memory: On a personal note – playing in a Grand Final last year, that was only my third champs. We didn’t fire a shot in Vietnam 3 years ago, 2 years ago in Malaysia we had a good side but for whatever reason didn’t go so well. So last year being on that roll, getting up over Bali in the preliminary round and then playing in the Granny and having all eyes on you, that was really good!
From a family and a club point of view, I think, I keep going back to the AFLW Grand Final in KL. Sitting on the side, we’d busted our arses playing footy all day, we were 3 or 4 cans deep… Honestly I haven’t barracked that hard for a very long time! Inclusive of watching North play in the ’96 and ’99 Grand Final.
And off the field, last year in Pattaya. We’d booked out an Irish pub in Pattaya for about 80 odd, 2 mens teams and the women’s, coaches, family and friends… I’ve got a photo of us – we all had these shirts on we had made up for someone’s going away – so I’ve got this photo of me being at the front of this group as we’re leaving the bar and going down the street and there’s about 50 of the 80 in the background. Guys, girls, it just symbolizes what playing footy in Asia is all about! The there’s Aussies, there’s Irish, New Zealand, Poms, Sri Lanka… all ages, all sizes, all abilities and we’re all just together having a brilliant time off the field!
Favorite meal: Firstly I don’t cook, I give Food Panda a bit of a flogging. But my favorite would be Vietnamese.
Favorite holiday destination: I love going on surfing holidays, I love going on golf holidays but what i really have enjoyed lately is going to Europe in the summer. Given I worked for the AFL for 12 years, so firstly getting to Ibiza with Hammo and a couple of the boys, and then last year getting to Greece and Mikanos. Its things I’ve seen on social media for 12 years, driving to some oval in 12 degrees and sleet rain while others are sunning themselves on a beach.
3 things people may not know about you: I’m a bit of an over sharer, so i think most people know most.
1 – I’m unemployed as of yesterday. Anyone who has a job out there for Slothington give me a call!
2 – As much as i like to take the P-1-5-5 out of myself somewhere down in that sloth brain I’m quite the intellect. When people find out my academia career and my academic scholarship at school they’re quite surprised.
4 people to join you at a dinner: Sport – Michael Jordan, Business – Ray Dalio or Simon Zaneck, I’ll have to come up with the 2 more!
What does the future of AFL Asia hold? First and foremost at an AFL Asia level – I’m not on the committee – but I tip my hat to guys like Galey and yourself. I’m really excited to see the AFL invest with a full time role with Simon Highfield. In my experience with managing community and country footy in Australia I’ve seen the benefits of the AFL taking over. Despite some people feeling territorial around control and ownership, it’s significant to get to the point that the AFL wants to invest a full time resource and additional money into the region. I’m hoping once post covid that resource and that support stays, because there is a large participation base, there is a large consumer base, there is a large follower base here in Asia for the AFL.
Speaking to alot of the presidents last year it seemed there’s unfortunately a common trend that there’s more expats leaving than coming in. So what the future holds for the next 12-24 months, I don’t know but I really hope whatever industries are supporting expats, especially Aussies working in Asia can thrive. Because I think having those expats provides a great base for AFL Asia and long may it continue!