There’s coming with a late rush and then there’s Ed Allan.
Relegated to the sidelines for the first half of the year courtesy of a stress fracture in his back, Allan has stormed into top-15 draft calculations after a barnstorming back stretch of 2022.
He may’ve only managed six games between WAFL Colts and state level, but the West Australian certainly made an impact.
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“I knew I only had about a month-and-a-half to come back and play so I knew I had to play well,” Allan told foxfooty.com.au.
“That was definitely one of my goals to come back and impact straight away. I was pretty happy with how I went in terms of how consistent I was when I came back.”
Key to that consistency are Allan’s natural attributes – standing at 194 centimetres while boasting phenomenal athleticism – and his commitment to improving even while sidelined for much of the year.
“I got the fracture in late February so I knew straight away it was going to be a two to three month injury,” he said.
“I kind of just had to break it down week by week into small goals. I had a good support network,
“I was with mates a lot and then I was able to be in the gym pretty much the whole time as well which helped me take my mind off things and I was also doing Uni.
“I wasn’t allowed to put much weight on my spinal cord … I was doing upper body stuff in the gym, I was also doing pilates during the week with a specialist. I definitely think without doing the pilates and intensive training I wouldn’t have come back as consistently.”
Allan turned heads at the national draft combine when he recorded a 20-metre sprint time of 2.184 seconds, which was just .06 seconds off the best-ever recorded time in 2010.
Just at noticeable as his rise up the draft order was his development physically.
“My older brother did the same thing, we both had a pretty similar growth spurt,” he said.
“Over the last two-and-a-half years we’ve probably grown about 15 to 20 centimetres and put on about 15 to 20 kilos.
“I’ll thank Mum’s genes for that I think!”
His father, too, certainly hasn’t hindered his football aspirations, with Ben Allan having played senior football for both Hawthorn and Fremantle, captaining the latter in 1995 and 1996.
Allan’s capabilities are impressive and his versatility as a result is a big appeal to many club recruiters.
While his favourite position is as an inside midfielder, his least favourite position came in the early months of 2022, when he was relegated to the couch while recovering.
“There was (a bit of doubt). When you sit out for that long and watch everyone play you kind of think everyone has gone ahead of you a bit,” he said.
“I guess in that sense there was a bit of doubt. In saying that, I was also pretty confident in myself.”
While Allan notes he’s been “pretty lucky with a good family and support network”, he’s one of several Hemisphere Management players taking part in Movember this year in a bid to raise funds and awareness for men’s mental health.
There’s been a notable rise in transparency with regard to mental health, to the point where some players are open about the fact they would prefer to stay in their home state and be close to family.
While the return of Luke Jackson to West Australia was a reminder of the risks interstate clubs take in drafting such players, Allan instead has grown accustomed to the likelihood he’ll be packing his bags once draft night is done.
“Being from WA, you kind of know if you’re going to get picked up you’ll probably have to move interstate. You kind of come to terms with it,” he said.
“I’m obviously happy to go anywhere if anyone gave me the opportunity.”