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Mabior’s long road to Tigerland

Mabior's journey to the AFL Second round pick in the 2015 Rookie Draft, Mabior Chol speaks about his road to the Tigers.
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 2: Mabior Chol of the Tigers in action during the Richmond Tigers training session at Punt Road Oval, Melbourne on December 2, 2015. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Mabior Chol at Richmond training on Wednesday afternoon

Richmond’s second pick in last week’s AFL rookie draft, Mabior Chol, provides Tiger fans with a fascinating insight into his remarkable football journey...

Adapting to life at Tigerland

“I’ve actually gone pretty well, better than I thought I would have, having to come as an 18-year-old to a football club, not knowing a lot of players.  I think I’ve settled pretty well so far . . . Really loving how the boys get around (me).  The leadership group have been really good towards the new draftees.  They took us out for lunch.  It was really great meeting all the boys and getting to know them a bit better.”

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Proud to be picked

“It was a shame that I didn’t get picked up in the National Draft, but I kept my head high, and was just hoping to get rookie-listed by any club.  I got a phone call from my teacher and he told me that I’m going to Richmond.  So, I didn’t really know what to say to him, but I was really proud of myself.  I was just screaming out loud in the house and then mum was like, ‘what happened’?  I was like, I just got picked up by Richmond, and I was very happy . . . couldn’t be any more proud.”

Out of Sudan

“Originally born in Sudan, but didn’t live there for that long.  With my family, moved up to Egypt, stayed there for a couple of years, and then eventually ended up coming to Australia in 2005 . . .”

Strong family ties

“We’re very close, we’ve got a big family and our family name’s very well known around the community.  Dad is a community leader.  I’ve got three younger brothers and two younger sisters, so I’m the oldest in our family and have a big responsibility.  That can be annoying at some stage, but it’s very good to be the oldest.”

Hooked on football

“I started playing footy at the age of 12, at school first.  We had a really good team there, went through to the final, which was played at the Gabba.  I was amazed playing in a really big stadium.  I was like, oh, wow, why can’t I just join a footy club next year!  So, I just took my footy there, and I’ve never stopped playing it ever since.”

Aiming for the top

“After playing for the World 18 (at the national under-16 championships in 2013), that really gave me a lot of confidence in my footy ability.  And then, I got taken by the (Brisbane) Lions’ Academy, and I never looked back.  Just wanted to make it to the highest point I can.”

Goodes inspiration

“He (Adam Goodes) was the first guy I ever watched playing AFL  . . . I was a Swan boy back then.  Adam Goodes was who really stood out for me . . . his leadership, courage, and what he does off-field as well – a person who’s really inspiring.”

Tiger mate-ship

“My goal for this year is to work really hard, get to know the boys very well, not just in footy, but outside footy as well...”