By Ronny Lerner
The Brisbane Lions have confirmed that Matthew Eagles, winner of the last season of reality TV show ‘The Recruit’, will make his AFL debut against Collingwood on Sunday.
Eagles was recruited by the Lions as a Category B rookie in 2016 after winning the second, and most recent, season of the show.
The 28-year-old will become the first winner of ‘The Recruit’ to be selected for a senior game after Port Adelaide’s Johann Wagner (the 2014 winner) failed to do so.
Originally recruited from Yeronga South Brisbane, Eagles has been playing in Brisbane’s NEAFL side since the start of 2017.
“The journey has been a bit of a rollercoaster coming from a different pathway. I've loved it and I’d like to take this time to thank everyone involved in the journey,” said Eagles, who has also played for Port Adelaide in the SANFL and North Ballarat in the VFL.
“I’m just really proud to put the jumper on.”
Lions coach Chris Fagan paid tribute to Eagles’ dedication and commitment while announcing that the key defender would be playing his first game.
“To your credit, you have worked so hard on your game, with your skills and also the way you’re willing to look after your body,” he said.
“You’re an incredibly dedicated player at this club.
“Welcome to AFL footy at the ripe old age of 28.”
At 28 years and 87 days old, Eagles will become the oldest debutant amongst active players, overtaking Hawthorn’s David Mirra (27 years and 27 days) who has held the mantle since round four.