Morris inspiring new wave of recruits

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Dale Morris’ story is one of persistence and hard work, from the four years he spent in the VFL to his lengthy stint on the sidelines rehabilitating a badly broken leg.

The 2008 All-Australian has been an inspiration to a host of mature age recruits who want to break into the competitive AFL landscape – but his journey has not been without obstacles.

Unable to break into a TAC Cup side in his junior career, Morris was forced to look for alternative pathways to keep his dream of playing AFL alive.

“When I was younger I was always led to believe that you have to play [TAC Cup Calder] Cannons to make it into the AFL and obviously that is all that I knew,” Morris told TAC Cup Future Stars.

“When I tried out a couple of times for the Cannons and didn’t quite get there I had to find other avenues and lucky for me it all worked out.”

Unwilling to admit defeat, Morris was given an opportunity to trial with the Western Bulldogs for a place on the rookie list but was again overlooked.

He went on to play at Werribee in the VFL for four years – who were then affiliated with the Bulldogs – to remain front of mind at the Club and experience a higher level of football.

“To be shown another avenue to your goal really helped my journey… Werribee were fantastic, they provided the perfect stepping stone for me to further my football career,” he said.

“My goal was to play AFL footy and if I didn’t make it I was going to have the best crack that I could and go every opportunity that was possible.”

Morris’ persistence paid off when his name was called out at pick 19 of the 2004 AFL Rookie Draft and he has never looked back.

173-games later the close-checking defender has still faced his fair share of hardships and setbacks but has repaid the faith multiple times over.

Entering his 10th year at the kennel, Morris’ focus now turns to ushering the next generation of young Bulldogs and helping them find their feet, regardless of the pathway that landed them at the Club.

WATCH: Dale’s story here

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