You get the impression that Keir Wotherspoon would run through a brick wall if it meant he got the chance to play regular Australian football.
Whether it’s travelling 50 miles to help to set up, coach and develop the West Lothian Eagles – one of the newest clubs in Great Britain – or travelling 200 miles for home games in order to get regular game time with one of the best teams in Europe, Wotherspoon confesses he is obsessed with the sport.
“About five years ago I had stopped playing rugby, and wanted to get back into sport,” he told AFL England. “I saw my local county had an Australian football team so I went along to try it out.”
He was hooked. Playing mostly in the midfield (“I look far better than I actually am somehow”) but occasionally in the half-forward line, Wotherspoon won the Scottish Grand Final in 2017 before his move to the Central & Northern England league.
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This season, he says, was the best he’s ever played as he racked up 26 goals in six appearances, including a “totally intentional” 50m dribble in the Grand Final as the Manchester Mosquitoes once again were crowned champions.
“It’s just great coaching with uber-talented, ambitious and determined players. I’ve learned so much about set-ups and tactics; there’s just a really great setup in Manchester.”
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Talk of a Great Britain call up came back at the Tyne Tees Cup in 2017 after playing with and against several well-known Bulldogs at the tournament, with GB Swans Head Coach Ian Mitchell putting his name forward.
“I owe him more than a pint at this point!” said Wotherspoon.
Having experienced playing with several GB players in the CNE league, we asked him who shines out.
“Shines out? In a team with such ridiculous levels of talent, it’s difficult to pick one out; Calumn Newman and Andrew Cochran are absolute gun; George Dibble and Adam Kelly have unbelievable footy IQ, but I reckon Roy Brannigan with his determination, pure skill and knowledge makes him a stand out.
“It is without a doubt the best team I’ve been a part of. There are no areas of weakness, we have great depth in all roles, we are well led and more determined than anyone who we’ll come up against. My opinion? The best team in Europe.”