Simon O’Donnell’s son James O’Donnell signs with Bulldogs
The Western Bulldogs have signed James O’Donnell, son of former Australian cricketer Simon O’Donnell, as a convert from cricket.
The Bulldogs signed O’Donnell, who has played premier cricket for Essendon, as a category B rookie – the same rule Geelong used to recruit Mark Blicavs from athletics and Collingwood used to recruit American Mason Cox to oblige.
O’Donnell’s father Simon, who is also a well-known media personality, played football for St Kilda where his father Kevin also played in the 1940s, making James a potential third generation of the family to play the game at the highest level .
O’Donnell is an all-rounder at Premier cricket level but has a football pedigree, having played for Victoria under-12s alongside Will Phillips and North Melbourne’s Bulldog Luke Cleary. He mainly focused on cricket at Xavier College.
O’Donnell, 21, had a late growth spurt at age 18-19, according to club sources, and stands 197 centimeters tall – making him a potential candidate for a key position, although the Bulldogs are open to what positions he could fill . He was a midfielder when he last played.
The Bulldogs’ expectation is that he could start playing on defense, where it’s easier to learn the game. He hasn’t played soccer since he was in school.
O’Donnell was heavily tested for athletic traits when judged by the Bulldogs, displaying good speed and endurance.
O’Donnell will practice with the Bulldogs on Friday.
The Bulldogs found O’Donnell through the club’s high-performance boss Mat Inness, who is involved with Essendon Cricket Club. They don’t expect O’Donnell to play right away and give him time to get used to the game.
https://www.smh.com.au/sport/afl/simon-o-donnell-s-son-signs-for-western-bulldogs-20230405-p5cyh7.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_sport Simon O’Donnell’s son James O’Donnell signs with Bulldogs