Gridiron trio make hay in Perth

All the way from the USA: Owen Hayden (28), Jeremy Stephens (42) and John Simon Jnr (3) are getting some time in the West.
All the way from the USA: Owen Hayden (28), Jeremy Stephens (42) and John Simon Jnr (3) are getting some time in the West.

Owen Hayden from North Carolina, Jeremy Stephens from Indiana and John Simon Jnr from Wisconsin are comfortable at their new home ground, Edinburgh Oval in Bentley.

Stephens (23) said he travelled west because an NFL team in the US did not pick him up and he saw Perth as a great opportunity to continue to play the game.

‘Not only would I still be playing football and developing my skills, but I would get the rare opportunity to play the game overseas,’ he said.

‘Not many people can say that they have been overseas, but to play a sport overseas as well; this was just an opportunity I could not let slip away.’

The linebacker will be in Perth until February next year and during that time he hopes to develop his skills and soak up the Australian culture.

Hayden (23) made his way to Perth after wrapping up the 2014 Gridiron Victoria season playing with the Warriors for six months.

Having only been in Perth for a few weeks, the wide receiver said it already felt like home.

‘Thus far, the composition of the club has been a major highlight. Compared to the Warriors, the Saints are a smaller organisation, but I don’t say that with any negative connotation at all,’ Hayden said.

‘Because of their size, the Saints are a tight-knit group where everyone pitches in to help with the administration of the Club and treats it more as a family than a sports organisation.

Training twice a week and playing on Friday nights or Saturday afternoons, Simon (24) said he also partook in an individual six-day training routine.

‘People dedicate their loves to the sport in America and Australia, but in America it is more popular so there are more people involved,’ he said.