AS the postponement of all seasons commenced over the last few weeks, we head back to the pre-season a month earlier where we sat down with a number of athletes across the country. In a special Question and Answer (Q&A) feature, Draft Central‘s Michael Alvaro chatted with Geelong Falcons’ Tanner Bruhn at the NAB League Fitness Testing Day hosted by Rookie Me.
The classy midfielder has long been touted as one to watch come his draft year, earning the MVP award in Vic Country’s 2018 Under 16 side, and becoming a Geelong Grammar First XVIII best and fairest winner in the same year. His father, Matt was also an inaugural Geelong Falcons member, and somewhat of a local legend having won the 1996 Mathieson Medal during his time at Grovedale.
Bruhn managed four games for the Falcons as a 16-year-old, but that total was halved in 2019 as the youngster suffered an injury setback that had him sent in for knee surgery. His two outings at the back-end of last season and an appearance in the Under 17 Futures All Stars showcase game only highlighted Bruhn’s talent, with his stoppage craft and poise on the ball helping him shine.
Another knee setback saw Bruhn sit out the pre-season testing and was set to see him miss the first few rounds of the season, but the unforeseen break in action could come as somewhat of a blessing in disguise for the Newtown & Chilwell product, who can now build towards full fitness and be raring to go once – and if – called upon.
MA: How’s the day treated you so far?
TB: “Not too bad. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to participate with the rest of the group just due to an ongoing injury at the moment, but I think the boys have done pretty well so far and we’ve tested well which is good.”
You obviously had a long-term injury last year as well, how have you found the recovery time?
“Last year was pretty tough obviously missing the majority of the season and not being able to be out there with the boys. “But there was still plenty for me to do in terms of my rehab and then also helping the coaches and the staff on the sidelines. “I think I handled it pretty well and just can’t wait for this season.”
When you have been on the field, how’ve you rated your experience so far?
“Yeah not too bad. “I guess it’s a tough one really, I haven’t played much footy in the last 12 months so looking back; Under 16s, I really enjoyed my time there, then obviously getting the opportunity to play with the Falcons as an under-ager was awesome. “So yeah, just really keen for this year and hopefully I can just put my best foot forward.”
Are there any goals you’re looking to tick off along the way?
“Hopefully just to start the NAB League season off well and then obviously transition into school (football) and hopefully play some consistent footy throughout the year. But just overall to have a healthy season and try to get the best out of myself as possible.”
The Falcons seem to have a lot of talls in the team, are you looking to be that leader in the midfield?
“Yeah I’d say so. Like you said, we’ve got a lot of talls this year and hopefully a pretty strong side so that’s a big part of my game that I try and develop and improve – that leadership side. “So hopefully, we’ll see how we go but yeah, I’ll definitely take it into account for sure.”
You’d be juggling a few commitments with school footy, Falcons, and Vic Country – who are some of the boys you’re looking forward to playing alongside?
“Definitely. I think with Falcons especially the likes of Ollie Henry and Henry Walsh. “Obviously being able to play with those boys for the last few years has been pretty special so to run out there this year with those boys – I really can’t wait. And then Nick Stevens as well from the Rebels, he’s out at school with me so yeah, there’s a few boys in the numerous teams that I’m in but I just can’t wait really to get out there.”
And being around the Vic Country Hub, how has that aided your development?
“Immensely. “Obviously being in it last year as a bottom-ager, I’ve just grown so much as a player and as a person. “The experiences last year in the hub, there’s just great people there who’ve helped me with my injury and I’ve learned so much and developed heaps. “I really enjoyed the camps as well that we had through December and January and I’m just raring for the season ahead.”