Suban settling into WAFL life with the Bulldogs

Saturday, April 28, 2018 - 1:49 PM by Chris Pike

NICK Suban's time in the AFL might have come to an end earlier than he hoped at the end of 2017, but he was only too happy to join South Fremantle to begin the next phase of life and that already has seen named in the Western Australian State squad for next month's clash with South Australia.

For his entire adult life, Suban has known nothing aside from being an AFL football being drafted to the Fremantle Dockers in 2008 from North Ballarat.

In that time, he became a life member at Fremantle by playing 156 games including being part of the 2013 Grand Final team and for most of his time at the Dockers he had been a mainstay of the team.

But by the end of 2017, his papers were stamped and Suban was left wondering what his next step in life was to be.

There was the potential that he could move interstate to continue his AFL career, but with a wife and new son wanting to remain in Perth, the potential of getting up and moving to a new home for what potentially could only be the one year wasn’t overly appealing.

So when Suban found himself not with an AFL home in 2018, the next question was the decide on his next venture and that was to play in the WAFL and then he had plenty of suitors across the competition.

Living in Fremantle, links to a couple of former Dockers teammate and senior coach Todd Curly soon meant that it was South Fremantle that Suban decided to join and he has had no trouble fitting.

So far over the opening three games of the season, Suban has split his time between playing the midfield and off half-back for South Fremantle and his production and leadership has been impressive.

Suban has averaged 18.7 possessions a game over those three matches and that has seen him also included in the WAFL State squad that has been announced ahead of the clash against South Australia in Adelaide on Saturday May 12.

He has been included in the squad along with South Fremantle teammates Ryan Cook, Ashton Hams, Brock Higgins, Blaine Johnson, Ben Saunders and Haiden Schloithe.

Looking back on the end of last season, Suban had some thinking to do and it soon became an easy choice to join South Fremantle

"I obviously got delisted by Fremantle at the end of last year and was wanting to play on with my footy somewhere," Suban told 91.3 SportFM.

"I had a close relationship with Todd Curley who was an assistant coach at Fremantle and I live in the Fremantle area, and I know South Fremantle is a really proud and great club. So I thought why not join them and I decided to join the Bulldogs."

Wanting to remain in Perth was Suban's focus with his and wife's young son so that meant that when Fremantle moved him on and West Coast didn't allow him to remain at AFL level and in WA, he quickly got himself used to the idea of no longer being a professional footballer.

"Anyone that gets delisted or retires from the AFL, there's obviously a transition period and for me it was quite tough," he said.

"But in saying that, I have a young family with our young son so that has kept me quite busy and not think about that disappointment of being delisted too much.

"I obviously would have loved to keep playing AFL footy and I did have the opportunity to maybe go over to Sydney, but for the best interests of my family and my wife who is from Perth, we decided it was probably best to stick here and go out and get a job, and play some WAFL footy."

This year now is the first time in Suban's life that he's had to go and get a job while juggling the commitments of WAFL football with South Fremantle.

He had some time off for the rest of 2018 but now is working along with training and playing with the Bulldogs while ensuring he spends enough time at home with his family too.

"It is pretty tough after I left school at 18, moved to WA and the only thing I've really done is play footy and entrench my life into trying to make the most of being an AFL footballer," Suban said.

"The adjustment out of that is quite tough but I've got great support from family and friends, and am enjoying getting into having a job now. 

"I thought it was important when I was delisted to take some time off and spend time with my family and assess where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do. It's important for guys who do come out of the AFL system to take a sit back and see what they want to get into after footy. 

"I did that and enjoyed the time off, and now I'm getting into that juggling of having a job and playing some footy. It's good fun."