Cool Cat calls home

Cool Cat calls home

Geelong Premiership player Brad Close returned home to Mount Gambier last week and paid a special visit to his old school, Tenison Woods College.

Close spent a few hours at the college, popping into classes and touring the school grounds with one of his former teachers and local North Gambier Football Club teammate and Senior School Head Ciaran Buckley.

Close, who attended Tenison Woods College for his entire schooling and graduated in 2016, said he was grateful for the many opportunities he received during those years.

“The place has changed a fair bit, but I have a lot of memories being back here,” he said.

“I played so much sport, cricket, footy, basketball and even a bit of soccer.

“There were so many opportunities and so much support in the sports program here,”

In 2015 Close travelled to the USA with a group of basketball enthusiasts as part of the Tenison Woods College Titans Basketball USA Tour.

This was one of the many sporting experiences that helped shape his passion and drive for sport.

“The USA Basketball Tour was an amazing experience and I urge students to take up this opportunity when it is offered again,” Close said.

“My sporting experiences are no doubt my best memories from school.”

Some Year 2 and Year 3 classes were lucky enough to have a surprise visit from Close in their classrooms while he was at the college.

They had the opportunity to ask questions and even have some personal items signed by the sporting star.

Principal David Mezinec also spent time with Close during his visit, discussing the intricacies of his recent grand final match and reminiscing on his time at the college.

“We were thrilled that Brad found time in his busy schedule to visit the college,” Mr Mezinec said.

“As a student who completed all his education at Tenison Woods College, Brad has a special place in our hearts and we are not only proud of his achievements on the field, but also proud of the self-effacing, team-oriented person he has become.”

Mr Buckley organised a group of High Performance Sports Program students to meet with Close and have a casual discussion around their sporting ambitions.

Mr Buckley has been inspired by Close’s growth over the years and impressed with his professional approach to his sporting career.

“It was wonderful to welcome Brad back to the college,” he said.

“He’s an amazing role model to our students at Tenison Woods College. His unwavering determination, dedication and hard-working competitive spirit is so inspiring.

“Brad is a great example to our students that your dreams can be achieved even when you live in a regional area.”

Close was part of the premiership winning team at North Gambier Football Club in 2016, before moving to Adelaide to play for Glenelg in the SANFL league.

He won a premiership there in 2019 and was drafted to the Geelong Football Club in 2020. This year, he played and won his first AFL Grand Final with the Geelong Cats.

“Something I have learnt along the way is that I guess the dream is never really over,” Close said.

“It’s important for the students and aspiring athletes at the college to remember that it is not all about your skill, it’s what you make of your opportunities.”

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