Adam Oxley finally living out AFL fantasy with Magpies
MOST footy fans probably wouldn't be able to put the face to the name just yet.
And the man himself, admits he's "still probably below the Swannies and Pendleburys at the moment" when it comes to the most recognisable footballers at Collingwood.
But, if you're into your fantasy football, you'll have heard the name 'Adam Oxley'.
The 22-year-old is, for instance, in 92,327 Supercoach teams, with his price tag having had the biggest jump of any player.
"Someone the other day mentioned the term 'cash cow'," Oxley tells APN with a laugh.
While Supercoach is just a 'game', in reality it means a lot has gone right on the field for the likeable Queenslander this season after first being rookie-listed by the Magpies in 2012.
Oxley, who was born in Canberra but moved to Brisbane with his family when he was seven, certainly wasn't destined to make a name for himself in Aussie rules.
"Dad was a rugby league, rugby union player growing up, had nothing to do with AFL," he recalls. "But, if you asked him now what he follows it's definitely AFL."
Taking up the game in the schoolyard, Oxley progressed to the senior side of NEAFL club Redland, his running ability a feature.
And then after being overlooked in two national drafts, renowned Collingwood recruiter Derek Hine took a punt on him, adding him to his then growing list of Queenslanders that also included Dayne Beams and Lachie Keeffe.
"I was lucky enough to find a bit of good form (in 2012) and Decker came knocking again," Oxley explained.
Upgraded to the senior list midway through 2013, Oxley played two games, and was set for many more in 2014, when he suffered an ankle injury in a practice match, which later required surgery. His season was over before it had even begun.
"I had a good pre-season and was looking to mould myself into that spot Heath Shaw (who had left for GWS) had on the half-back flank," he said.
"It was a pretty tough year, had plenty of dark days in the rehab group, but you have to just fight through and reap the rewards.
"And here I am now feeling the best I have … the body feels great."
Oxley credits West Coast premiership player and short-term Collingwood forward Quinten Lynch with providing him with the extra motivation to make his recovery a success.
"He was the hardest trainer I've ever seen," he said. "Seeing him on a bike next to me day in, day out when he had his broken leg was pretty insane."
Eighteen months after playing his second and last game for the Magpies, Oxley was picked for round one this season, ironically in his home city, at the Gabba.
"It was pretty surreal, to be back playing in front of family and friends," he said.
Better for the run, after battling cramps in that comeback match the Magpies won, he announced himself as a player when gathering 33 touches in the round-two loss to Adelaide.
"I had no idea," he said of the game-high tally. "Even as a junior I don't think I had over 20."
He's carried on that form, successfully shifting from half back to the wing.
"I've spent a lot of time with (assistant coaches) Scott Burns and Robert Harvey going through running patterns," he said.
"There's more freedom up there. You can read the play a lot better, you can link up with your backs and your forwards."
Having played all seven games this season, the 192cm Oxley has returned to Queensland, as part of the Magpies' line-up to take on Gold Coast this afternoon at Metricon Stadium.
The Magpies are aiming to bounce back from two straight defeats, and end a run of two successive losses to the Suns at Carrara.
Oxley will again have a strong contingent of family and friends to support him.
"I've picked up the tickets this afternoon … they'll all be down there cheering," he said.
And no doubt there will be a lot more Magpie fans cheering him on to, now they know who he is.