PICTURE the last quarter of the TAC Cup, the decider on a knife’s edge. Spectators biting their nails. The moment a footballer lives for. The Sandringham Dragons had furiously fought back against the Geelong Falcons, who many thought were home at three-quarter-time with a 30-point buffer. With the season on the line, though, a boy from Beaumaris had other ideas.
With a towering mark at the top of the goal square, the number 20 launched- simultaneously- towards the Etihad Stadium roof as well as draft contention. He then put through his third goal, all of which came in the paramount final term.
About two months later, the Mentone Grammar student was left out in the cold. Indeed, on the night of the National Draft, all 18 clubs had seemingly forgotten those final quarter heroics.
He hasn’t given up, though.
Meet Kai Owens.
After the disappointment of missing out in 2017, Owens is set to reunite with the Dragons as a top-age player in 2018, with plans to confound each of the 18 clubs that overlooked him.
“This year I’m playing with the mindset of proving people wrong,” Owens said.
In addition, having struggled for consistency in the past due to minor injuries scattered across his junior career, the Dragon is raring to go after a strong pre-season thus far.
“I feel as fit as I’ve ever been, Owens asserted
“I’m pretty happy heading into this season.”
An athletic prospect, the Dragon looks to model his game on star Bulldog Marcus Bontempelli- a comparison pundits are likely to draw- with Owens set for more midfield time in 2018, after predominantly playing up forward last season.
“I’ve been training with the midfield group this year, he revealed.
“I really want to play consistent footy in the midfield this year. [I’m] looking forward to the new role which will hopefully allow me to find more of the footy.”
A talented basketballer growing up, it is unsurprising where Owens’ sporting motivation primarily came from.
“LeBron James was my favourite sportsman to watch growing up, he said.
“His ability to overcome adversity and lead his teams to many championships is something I really admire.”
Away from sport, though, Owens says he has a lot to owe to his parents.
“Their hard work and support is something I really appreciate, he admired.
“It’s another key to my motivation in going forward with my footy.”
Studying commerce at the prestigious University of Melbourne, Owens will face a challenging juggle, but says that his previous ability to balance year 12 and TAC Cup is a point in which he will draw confidence.
Having had two Grand Final appearances in as many years, one of which landed Sandringham a flag, Owens has confidence the Dragons again have the group to fire.
“I think we have a very solid group, he declared.
“Only time will tell, but I’m confident the Dragons will have another successful year.”
With Kai Owens appearing set to fly high again in 2018, recruiters across the country should keep an eager eye on the Dragon ready to breathe fire.
By Owen Leonard