For Flynn Kroeger, footy has always an integral part of his life, not only as a child but through his development years at Wandin as a junior and then to a talent pathway at the Eastern Ranges.
Growing up in the heart of our region at Seville, the recently drafted Geelong youngster’s passion for football ignited when he was just a toddler.
“My love for footy came around when I was two as Dad introduced me to the Roos on the telly,” he explained.
“From there on Dad gave me a footy and I never put it down,” he explained.
Kroeger’s father encouraged him to get into sport from that point onwards, where he became his first ever Auskick coach before commencing his junior football career in the Under 10’s at Wandin.
The on-field talent and raw hunger for the ball that possessed the young man as a junior earnt him the opportunity to represent the Outer East in the under 16 interleague team of 2019.
“I was named as captain of that squad which was really cool because I never really thought I was good enough,” he said.
“But everyone said otherwise, and I never really brought it into my head as such because I just wanted to play footy at the highest level I could.”
While his junior career may seem all glittery, it was not without its self-doubts.
A hip fracture in 2019 had the young star reconsider his future as a footballer, until some guidance and assistance from his mother put the young man back on his feet.
“Mum’s philosophy on this was that if I really wanted to chase this dream so badly, then we’re not turning back now,” Kroeger reflected.
Come the 2021 season, Flynn made his senior debut in Round One against Doveton where he amassed an impressive 19 possessions and four tackles in one half and played five matches for the Ranges while managing a left and right hip flexor injury.
Taken at pick 48 in the 2021 NAB AFL Draft two weeks ago, the Geelong Football Club without a doubt have picked up a phenomenally talented player who will only get better with intense training and experience at AFL level.
Watching it all unfold in the man cave at home surrounded by his parents, brother and two of his best mates, Kroeger had his doubts around the probability of being selected in the draft, given it was almost at the end and there was no sign of being selected, until the Cats finally came through.
“I saw my name and I couldn’t believe it until everyone in the room was getting excited and my mates started jumped on me,” he reflected.
“It took a couple of minutes to sink in, but then I just started crying because my lifetime dream had finally come true.”
The transition to AFL life began almost immediately as the new Cat accepted calls from player development manager Mark Worthington, followed by Joel Selwood and Patrick Dangerfield which really signified the beginning of a new era in the football career for the young man.
To this point during his early weeks at Kardinia Park, Flynn has already developed close relationships with players like Gary Rohan and Tom Atkins who was quick to assign him with the simple nickname of ‘Kroges.’
While Kroeger will be calling Geelong home for the next phase of his career, he will never forget his football upbringing at Wandin and thanked everyone who made it all possible for him.
“There are many individuals who have influenced my career to this point, but I would like to extend my appreciation to everyone in the Wandin football community, both in juniors and seniors, who have helped me in the formative years of my career.”