Andrew Hooper playing for the Bulldogs. PICTURE: FAIRFAX MEDIAFORMER Western Bulldogs player Andrew Hooper wants back in the AFL system.
And he believes a return home to North Ballarat is how he can propel himself back into the big time.
Hooper has signed with the Roosters for the next two Victorian Football League seasons, joining from SANFL club Glenelg.
The 23-year-old told The Courier he hasn’t given up hope of making it back onto an AFL list after being cut by the Bulldogs in 2012.
Hooper played a total of seven games for the Dogs and is best remembered for his performance on debut in the semi final against Sydney in 2010, when he kicked a crucial goal.
“My dream has always been to play AFL footy and to have a big career in there. I think my best footy is to come back here and I think that’s where I can find myself back into the big league in the AFL,” Hooper said.
“Being under Fitzy (Roosters coach Gerard FitzGerald), I know how he coaches and I think knowing most of the boys, I think we can go a long way. I think being under (Fitzy) will improve me to get there.”
Hooper, who started his career at Golden Point and then moved into the North Ballarat Rebels system, has spent the past two seasons with Glenelg before deciding to move back to Victoria.
He said he could take heart from the increasing number of mature-age players being drafted into the AFL in recent years.
“A few years back it was sort of your 18 or 19 (year-olds) getting drafted, but now they are trying to extend to your mature age of 24 or 25,” he said.
“I still could have the chance and I’ll do everything I can to make it.”
FitzGerald said Hooper’s return was a “symbolic signing” for the club.
“My aspiration is to have as many of our players on our list actually living, working and immersed in our local community,” he said.
“We think we best replicate an AFL environment in the VFL. We think we are the best equipped to do it.”
Hooper captained Victoria Country at the 2009 under-18 national championships and shared the Larke Medal for best player across the division one carnival with Gold Coast Suns star David Swallow.
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