Lovett in Brisbane with new AFL job

Lovett starts again with help of an AFL lifeline

March 1, 2014

Caroline Wilson

Chief Football Writer for The Age

‘We’ve all read the bad and sad stories about Andrew, but he has come to our club for all the right reasons.’

Paul Fowles, Burleigh Heads Football Club president

‘I want to be able to get back to playing football and to end my career on a good note because I still have so much to give football and an AFL club prepared to take a punt on me.’ Andrew Lovett, The Age, November 2011

Andrew Lovett never did get another chance at AFL football. Though he was cleared of the two rape charges that ended his elite playing career, the talented former Bomber who won an Anzac Medal in just his third league game had already used up too many last chances.

But in a turn of events that underlines just how forgiving the game can be, Lovett one week ago began a junior development job with AFL Queensland. And the 31-year-old, who told colleague Michael Gleeson in that 2011 post-acquittal interview that he dreamed of playing again with the Bombers, will run around this season in red and black.

Lovett has signed with the Burleigh Heads Bombers on Queensland’s Gold Coast, having chosen to continue the rebuilding of his life closer to his children, who live in Byron Bay with their mother, Lovett’s former partner.

AFL Queensland chief Michael Conlan told Fairfax Media that Lovett had begun a junior development role in that league’s Southern Queensland region. ‘‘We’re taking things one step at a time,’’ said Conlan. ''The initial question for us was: ‘Does he deserve the chance?’ The answer was yes.

‘‘At the moment, Andrew will perform about 10 hours a week for us in junior footy and Auskick and we will review that in 30 days. If he continues to demonstrate the passion and determination for the job and turns up on time and performs well, we will extend his role to something like 30 hours a week. He’s been interviewed extensively twice by our local regional manager on the Gold Coast and, trust me, we don’t just give these jobs away. They are highly sought after and we get some very impressive people.’’

Conlan’s view is that Lovett, who has been looking for work to supplement his match payments with the Burleigh Bombers, could become a valuable mentor to young indigenous players in northern NSW and southern Queensland.

Lovett has moved north from Victoria, where he has been playing for Deer Park in the Western Region Football League. The AFL’s Jason Mifsud had enlisted Lovett on several occasions to address indigenous groups to discuss his career and its highs and lows, but it was Paul Fowles, the president at Burleigh Heads, who recommended Lovett for an AFL development role.

‘‘I’d like to keep this story on a positive note,’’ Fowles said on Friday. ''We’ve all read the bad and sad stories about Andrew, but he has come to our club for all the right reasons. Andrew wanted to move north to get closer to his family and we flew him up here and interviewed him on a couple of occasions. He hasn’t come up here with his hand out. Believe me, he is earning minimal match payments.

‘‘He wants to develop youth in Australian rules football. He loves the game and he really knows nothing but the game.’’

Australian rules has more than its fair share of cautionary tales. Collingwood’s Marley Williams has, according to the club, already served his penance for a violent assault that took place almost 15 months ago but has now been convicted and, despite the belief and support of his coach, will miss at least two months of football before he is sentenced by a West Australian court.

Nathan Buckley’s view is that those who repent and can change are rare and worthy citizens and clubmen. In Lovett’s case, he was deemed not guilty by the legal system but guilty by the AFL code after a long series of priors ranging from violence to dishonesty to laziness and a failure to commit to professional football.

In his own words in 2011: ‘‘I understand there are elements of risk involved because it’s about the image of the game, but ultimately, what have I done? I haven’t done anything, as proven in a court of law. I am not a bad person and I am not a risk, and I would hate to think my footy career ends this way.’’

His career - 88 games with Essendon and none at St Kilda - was a wasted one and when the Saints sacked him he looked headed for the scrap heap. Yet the AFL has indirectly once again offered him a lifeline. It has yet to be determined whether one of the game’s toughest frontiers will be rewarded for the glimmer of hope it has seen in Lovett. And whether his talent and the lessons of his downfall can teach some young Aboriginal sportsmen something meaningful.

I have his Season 2008 signed boot, #6 of #10 only..... ..  

Surely she could blame it all on Hird somehow? Getting slack.

Why is this news?

Cos hopefully it turns out to be good news.

He's copped his whack. Hope he does ok.

What is life without 2nd chances. Wish him (and his family) the best.

Yes wish him all the best. I thought the saints treated him appallingly. He was sacked for being charged as far as I could see, not because he was guilty. If Vlad or Fitzpatrick were charged with something would they get the sack.  

He's copped his whack. Hope he does ok.



Have tried to keep tabs on him at Fitzroy Stars in recent years. He can still play. Going back up in standard is good.

I miss watching him play.

He was the last person to get me genuinely excited… I mean all our players are great and games get me excited, but I’m sure you all know what I mean…

Lovett has signed with the Burleigh Heads Bombers on Queensland's Gold Coast,

200m from my house.

I didn't know he had kids.

Hope he sorts stuff out with them in some form.

He hasn’t even been granted clearance from Deer Park yet, must be owing something as on the WRFL website it shows he has tried 3 times.

Perhaps if I could find the Season 2008 left handed boot Lovett signed, I could give the pair back to him?     

Was a hell of a player at his best. 

Saints could have doubled their premiership tally had they not been so hasty.

I didn't know he had kids.

Hope he sorts stuff out with them in some form.

he is actually a pretty good Dad

Was a hell of a player at his best. 

people will disagree, but we have not replaced him yet.

Was a hell of a player at his best.

people will disagree, but we have not replaced him yet.

These people who would disagree.......who would they say he has been replaced by?

I love looking on YouTube for “Andrew Lovett goes for a run” and watching that every now and then