Kicking on: Kieran Brennan has caught the eye of Essendon talent scouts.
Kicking on: Kieran Brennan has caught the eye of Essendon talent scouts. Crystal Spencer

Brennan lands Essendon scholarship

AT just shy of two-metres tall, Terranora's Kieran Brennan has long stood head and shoulders above the pack.

But the 16-year-old's stature, together with his natural sporting ability, is about to take him to new heights.

Forget Karmichael Hunt and Israel Folau, Brennan is set to be the next big name in the AFL.

His towering talents have been snatched up by Essendon, and with only two scholarships handed out a year that's a phenomenal feat for any youngster.

But it's particularly impressive when you consider he has only just begun his second season in Aussie Rules.

“Essendon sent me the contracts and paperwork the other day,” the excited ruckman said.

“I was really surprised, couldn't believe it, because they only give out two a year. I'm really keen and excited because it's an excellent opportunity and I plan to make the most of it.

“My parents were really proud and are heading down with me on July 13 to be introduced to the club and coaches before I go off for an academy camp with the scholarship kids.”

Brennan's rapid rise to the big league began when he made the transition from basketball to Aussie Rules at the start of 2009.

Targeted by AFL Queensland for the High School Rookie Search Program, he began plying his trade with the Tweed-Coolangatta Blues under-16 squad last season.

After an impressive debut season he received a call-up to the Gold Coast Stingrays side, for whom he starred at the State championships.

With Essendon scouts on hand to watch the stand-out performances that earned Brennan Queensland selection, he was then invited by the Bombers to take part in a trial day at Pottsville together with nine other young hopefuls.

But hopeful was all they were, with the Kingscliff High School product excelling across all drills and leaving recruitment officer Merve Keane with little doubt as to whom his selection would be.

“I have a big presence and win a lot of ball around the ruck,” Brennan said.

“I can kick a fair way too, but I probably have to work on my accuracy a bit and my AFL specific skills in general.

“I'm just loving the game, particularly the physical aspect, and hopefully I can work on my skills and cement a contract.”

South-East Queensland AFL development officer Brent Kelly said he knew Brennan had potential from the moment he recruited him for the Rookie Search Program.

“We were targeting talented athletes from various sports, but Kieran was always going to be a natural for our game with his size and agility,” Kelly said.

“He was put through a rigorous AFL testing program equivalent to that of the draft camp in Canberra, and excelled.

“We were proud to see him called up for State football after only a handful of games, but to be signed up by Essendon is an outstanding achievement.

“I believe we have two or three other athletes in the area, too, who are following in his footsteps and look likely to be signed.”

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