We at AFL Asia normally reserve our stories to the awesome things happening within Footy in Asia. This is slightly different!

A video has been circling around Asia from the Scotch College U18’s that sparked our interest.

The Video shows a tall 16yo Aussie rules footy player for Melbourne’s Scotch College first 18. Seen here with a large crowd cheering him on as he kicks an impressive goal from 45 out, wide on the boundary in a tight game against Melbourne Grammar Firsts. Impressive to say the least!

The 16 year old is Hugh (Nev) Longbottom, a great player, plays forward pocket, handy in the ruck, amongst team mates some who are set for the 2017 AFL Draft. Hugh won the Best on Ground award on the day!

The difference with Hugh from the other players that day in Melbourne is that Hugh learnt to play footy in Hong Kong! Miles away from the big open Footy Fields and massive organised Junior Footy Clubs of Melbourne,

DSC_0193 (1)Hugh started Auskick in Hong Kong at the age of 6 (far left),
with then only 30 other kids, on a mini-soccer pitch at the Australian International School HK. By the time he left to go to Scotch College the Hong Kong Auskick had grown to 300 kids every weekend, playing in 5 different regional clubs!
His dad Tom (cc’d) ended up as president of Hong Kong Auskick and Junior AFL during the growth (now 400+kids), and is still involved even though his kids have now left Hong Kong. A great testament to his commitment to the kids of Hong Kong.
“We are all driven by the same goal. Trying to give our kids an Australian Rules Football experience as close as it could be to home. ” says proud Dad Tom Longbottom. “With the latest developments, quiz nights, Melbourne trips, Singapore trips, Macau visits etc you could argue its better!”

Tom’s long term commitment to Hong Kong Auskick has been commemorated with the naming of Hong Kongs U15’s friday night regional competition being named The Longbottom Cup in his honour. [Ed: Anyone having drunk out of the victory cup in their life time probably couldn’t think of a better name for a trophy!]

Tom said about his sons video, “I just returned from watching my boy Hugh (Nev as he is now known) play in the Cordner-Eggaleston Cup. This is the big game played every year between Scotch College and Melbourne Grammar Firsts. Representing the team and taking home a win such as this, I can tell you was his life long dream.”

IMG_0997Hugh has now been signed to TAC CUP team the Oakleigh Chargers! The Chargers are based at Warrawee Park in Oakleigh, Victoria, representing the southeastern suburban area of Melbourne. TAC CUP is designed to aid in player development and the process of the AFL draft. We wish Hugh all our best at the Chargers and hopefully AFL Draft!

For many parents the thought of having their children grow up overseas brings doubts that their kids are getting all the benefits of Aussie Rules experience like home. Thanks to all the Coaches and dedicated parents around Asia making Auskick available for your kids and introducing something new to the kids of Asia.

With the rise of AFL footy and Auskick around Asia please look out for your local Auskick and Junior Football Centre in your Asian city (try here) and get involved.

If there’s not one in your area speak to us about the steps to starting one! AFL Asia is here to help “Growing Footy in Asia”.

Photos: Top: 6 year old Hugh at his first year in Auskick

Middle: with the original Kowloon Cobras team, no. 24.
Header: Hugh with the Scotch College Team, also no. 24

Photos courtesy of Tom Longbottom.

Story by Darren Whitfield