Rediscovering his passion

Brandon White fought hard to build his AFL career with St Kilda. 290616 Picture: AAP IMAGES

By Tyler Lewis

PULL QUOTE** “I probably left the game a bit twisted, a bit frustrated, and I just thought I had a bit more to give… but at the time I had just fallen out of love with the game.” Brandon White on the end of his AFL career.

Brandon White left the AFL system with a sour taste in his mouth and distant from his once deep love of football.

After St Kilda selected White with pick 40 in the 2015 National Draft, the Dandenong Stingrays product managed just 11 senior games across his four years at AFL level.

In his final year at Moorabbin, White played just one senior match – a round 13 win over Gold Coast – but was an unswerving performer at VFL level, taking out the Neil Bencraft best and fairest award after an imperious season with Sandringham.

When the undesirable conversation came at the end of 2019, White proceeded to turn down a plethora of loaded VFL offers to instead return to local football, in an attempt to rekindle his love for the game.

“I probably left the game a bit twisted, a bit frustrated, and I just thought I had a bit more to give,” White said openly and honestly.

“Obviously the Saints didn’t think so at the time, but I gave everything to VFL that year and won equal best and fairest with Brede Seccull.

“I felt a bit hard done by, but I guess that’s footy, that’s how cut throat it is.

“It was on the table (VFL); Sandy offered for me to go around again and so did a few other clubs – Frankston, Casey, Footscray, a few other clubs, but at the time I had just fallen out of love with the game.”

White opted to re-join the local club in which he was drafted from – south eastern powerhouse Beaconsfield.

And although he has since moved on from Beaconsfield – shifting to Mornington Peninsula club Devon Meadows – White is content that his love of the game has returned.

“It definitely has… I came back to Beaconsfield, to where I pretty much grew up, I won a flag there when I was 17,” he said.

That local premiership as a wiry teenager still sits fondly with White, as he carried the learnings into the AFL system and beyond into his local football.

“Well first of all it was one of the best days of my life,” he explained.

“It feels like a while ago now, it helped with the experience of the bigger bodies and the pace of the game.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time down at Beaconsfield and I have still got some good relationships there.

“I don’t think Devon Meadows has played finals for 20 odd years…I don’t want to jinx ourselves yet, we still have a job to do with another four or five weeks to go.

“The old cliché of ‘week by week’ is the way we’re doing it down there… but it’s nice to bring that experience, not only myself, but Nick Battle and Ryan Hendy, and a few other boys that have had that finals experience.

“They’re not used to winning, so we’re trying to change that culture.”

The 25-year-old pulled on the Sandringham Zebras jumper on 51 occasions, to go with his 11 senior appearances – but was far from a known goal kicker.

However, since moving to the Panthers, White has had his magnet slide from a dashing defender, to a regular one-out-key-forward.

“I have spent a bit of time down there (this year),” he said.

“I rest there when I play midfield and sometimes I just start down there, I played a lot of my juniors as a forward, but not so much my senior footy.

“I think my best footy is at half-back, but I have been on all three lines at Devon – forward, mid and back.”

White’s Devon Meadows is currently poised for a top-two finish to the Mornington Peninsula Nepean Football League season with five games remaining in the season.