There’s a cult hero in every AFL Draft, typically thanks to a unique name – think Phoenix Spicer or Irving Mosquito.
It’s safe to say 2022’s winner is Shadeau Brain.
While the Brisbane Academy prospect isn’t one of the top prospects – he’s eligible for the Lions if he slips to the rookie draft – his unique name has already captured the minds of many online footy fans.
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It started when a photo of Brain at the Draft Combine went somewhat viral among the weirder areas of Footy Twitter last month.
But a feature from CODE Sports’ Daniel Cherny has only helped speed up the Brain bandwagon.
The 11th of 13 kids ranging from their mid-teens to their mid-30s, Brain is one of eight boys. His dad Greg is from Finley in New South Wales – a proud footy town which has Tom Hawkins, Shane Crawford and Allan Jeans on its list of greats.
“Dad played pretty high level football, he played up in Nightcliff in Darwin, played a bit of footy around country Victoria and coached Victoria’s under-18s one year. He’s been a pretty high level coach and footballer,” Brain explained.
“I was born in Shepparton. I spent a fair portion of my life up in Finley and it was just a fair bit back and forwards from Noosa.”
And if you’re wondering, Shadeau isn’t the only unique name amongst the clan.
“Wispa, Joc, myself Shadeau, Wynta, Jasper, Forest, Jed, Zac, Brittany, Whilloe, Carrissa, James and Brendan,” he explained.
Asked about his own name, Shadeau said: “I think mum and dad got it (from) French.”
After playing for Noosa’s senior team since he was 16 years old, and spending time with the Brisbane VFL team this past year, Brain is hopeful of entering the AFL system later this month.
He would not be the first VFL-AFL Brain – there have been six, from Horrie (who debuted in 1907) to the most recent, Ray (who debuted in 1972) – but he would definitely be the first Shadeau.