PERTH Demon John Levien was not allowed to play footy throughout his primary school years because his mother did not want him to get hurt.
He eventually got the opportunity to play when he was 12 because he loved the sport and his parents could not hold him back.
The Ferndale resident went on to play for Kenwick and was then told by one of his teachers to try out for the state side.
He went on to represent WA in Under-15s, 16s and 18s.
Levien played all of this year’s AFL National 18s Championship in the back pocket, despite playing his junior years throughout the midfield.
He said his best game in the Under-18s championships was against South Australia, where he collected 14 disposals and six uncontested marks, with five tackles
“I think I stopped the player, I guess, but I probably could have got more of the footy running out,” he said.
“It was a lot different to playing Colts at Perth, a lot faster and a lot more nerve-wracking.”
He said his tackling and pressure were his major strengths, while he needed to work on his decision-making.
Fellow state representative and Demon Quinton Narkle loves his footy and helping out Indigenous people as an Indigenous mentor at Wesley College.
Narkle played with Levien at the AFL National 18s Championship and played every game for the side that finished with a 2-2 record.
Narkle attended school at Wesley and is helping with traditional Indigenous performances and the like, and said he really wanted to help Indigenous students.
“A lot of them are successful and there are a lot who need help and I have a lot of experience and know a lot about them,” Narkle said.
“I know how important culture is and how important family is.
“I can relate to a lot and help them out.”
Narkle had a strong tournament playing in the midfield and in the forward line, with his best game coming against Victoria Metro, grabbing 17 possessions and kicking two goals.
The 18-year-old was one of the better players against the South Australians, collecting 21 touches, with 15 of them contested.
He said it took him a while to adapt but after a few games, he had built his confidence to play better footy.
“I started in the midfield and as the carnival went, gradually I played a mix of midfield and half-forward,” he said.
“To play at the highest level is a dream and a goal.”
WA state talent manger Adam Jones said both players did not do their chances of standing out to AFL recruiters any harm during the championships.
“John did a really good job and took the best small forward,” Jones said.
“Quinton played on ball for the most part and probably enhanced his status.”