Nathan Bradburn is as passionate as they come.
When it comes to his Tamworth Swans, the 24-year-old will do whatever job is asked.
When the ‘pretty tall kid’ rocked up to a training run in 2008 asking to play, club president Josh McKenzie went one better and asked if he’d like to play.
Bradburn did. Fast forward to last Saturday, the Swan racked up his 100th game for the club.
From the start, Bradburn had the ball skills to play Aussie rules, McKenzie said.
However, there was one skill that he’s slowly picked up along the way.
“He was pretty quiet at the start,” McKenzie recalled.
“After that first year , we had a strong team with experienced players so he was pretty quiet early on but as the team changed and players have come and gone, he’s been a mainstay and certainly been very vocal.”
Swans coach Paul Kelly described Bradburn as a “team man” and said the key player’s voice was one of his greatest attributes.
“He’s got a lot of experience and his talk is very good,” Kelly said.
“He always talks to the boys. It’s good for the younger lads and he’s very popular amongst the boys.”
Bradburn has ridden highs and lows with the Swans over his 10-year career.
The high that stands out for Bradburn came early on.
“The highlight has to be the 2009 grand final,” Bradburn said of the Swans’ triumph over Inverell.
“I didn’t get named in the 22 to play on the day but went over to watch and played half a game of juniors.
“I played a half and Rick Watt (2009 Swans coach) came over and said I was on the bench for the grand final.
“I got a run in the grand final. That has to be the highlight, being a part of such an amazing side that won that grand final.”
The last couple of seasons have been tough for the Swans. They went close to a year and a half without a win but that changed this year when the Swans beat the Kangaroos before toppling Narrabri.
Bradburn believes a finals spot is now within reach.
“That is the goal at the moment,” he said.
“It’s still a tough battle to get into that spot and we went across to Gunnedah and got hurt at bit by them.
“But as Paul [Kelly] said, Gunnedah is the top team and we learnt where he need to improve to get to that level.”
Bradburn said confidence would be key to the Swans’ improvement as they take on Moree away from home this weekend.
“We’re taking a full 22 over to Moree and I think the big thing for us is to keep our heads up, stay positive and have a good go,” he said.