Former Dookie United and Shepparton footballer Luke Lowden is hoping he can take the next step to playing in the AFL after winning the VFL premiership with Box Hill.By Marc McGowan
Dookie United and Shepparton product Luke Lowden hopes Sunday’s VFL premiership with Box Hill is the prelude to his AFL debut next year.
The result came two days after Hawthorn’s drought-breaking AFL triumph over the Cats to reach its second straight decider.
‘‘It was pretty special. I was very excited, because a VFL premiership is pretty hard to come by,’’ Lowden said.
‘‘To be involved in one meant a lot to me and meant a lot to all the people involved at Box Hill and Hawthorn.
‘‘Knocking off Geelong on Friday night was pretty important and then to knock Geelong off again at the weekend was super as well.’’
Lowden spent much of his time forward in Sunday’s match, with fellow big man Jon Ceglar taking the lion’s share of the ruck duties.
‘‘We have Jonny Ceglar — a Murray Bushranger — and Sam Grimley as well, so we’ve got the three talls, but me and ‘Cegs’ do a lot of the ruck,’’ he said.
‘‘But when I was forward I managed to clunk a couple, so I played a bit more forward then and it just depends how we go in that position on the day.
‘‘I was disappointed in how I kicked for goal, because I missed three pretty easy shots. It would have been nice to kick 3.1 instead of 1.3, but that’s footy and it was probably down to a bit of nerves.’’
Lowden, whose family relocated from Sydney to Cosgrove when he was 12, was a left-field selection in his draft year in 2008 after relocating to Melbourne to attend Caulfield Grammar.
He also competed in three TAC Cup games for Sandringham after playing most of his junior football with Dookie United — making a grand final in the under-14s — before graduating to under-18 ranks with Shepparton.
Lowden has battled a number of injuries in his brief career, including stress fractures in his back, a shoulder issue, osteitis pubis and a broken wrist.
He is yet to play an AFL game in his five seasons at the Hawks, but was confident a big pre-season could put him in the frame for selection.
‘‘I’m 22 now and really over those soft-tissue, young sort of injuries you get,’’ Lowden said.
‘‘I’m growing into my body now and I train to my body’s limits, which is good. I’m really happy I’ve learned to be able to do that.’’
Lowden signed a two-year extension with Hawthorn at the end of last season to remain at the club until 2014, but said he could not relax despite knowing he had another year up his sleeve.
He remains close friends with Shepparton Swan Tom Preece and in touch with the Goulburn Valley football scene.
‘‘There are a lot of guys who still support me and track my career closely and it’s good to know I have support back where I grew up,’’ Lowden said.
‘‘I love coming back to Shepparton when I can and I have a lot of good mates there.’’
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