Like many talented athletes, Charlie Parker had a choice to make.
At 18 years-old, the multi-skilled sportsman was plying his trade in England as a cricketer, living by himself and gaining valuable life experience.
Fast-forward six years and the 24-year-old is now a Western Bulldog.
“I didn’t play football in Year 12 and the year after I was playing cricket in England for six months and living over there on my own at 18, which was an experience,” Parker said.
“I played Division 1 footy for the next few years out at Adelaide University while I was playing cricket as well but lost the passion for cricket.”
‘’My coach at Adelaide Uni was in my ear for a long time about getting out to a SANFL club and 12 months ago Sturt gave me a pre-season trial.”
“They gave me three weeks before Christmas to prove myself and luckily got kept on and played a few games and 12 months later shocked to be here but excited.”
Reflecting on the past week, Parker is still pinching himself walking around Whitten Oval and is still coming to terms with being drafted into the AFL.
“I am overwhelmed to be honest,” Parker said. “On the day of the Rookie Draft, I worked 9-2 in the morning, got in my car and drove to my brothers to watch.”
“I only thought I was a five percent chance (to be drafted) and earlier in the week I was sending off applications to Universities.”
“I was shocked when I read my name, but it was nice to be with close family.”
Nine games at the Double Blues was enough to showcase the skills of Parker in 2021 and the mature-age recruit is keen to make an impact from the outset.
“I want to come over here and give it a red-hot crack.” Parker said. ‘’I want to show my strengths, my kicking and running and keep developing in all my other aspects.”
“I’ve been overwhelmed with the welcome and support; it seems like a really lovely place to be.’’
Parker and his fellow draftees joined in training this week with the 1-4 year Bulldogs hitting the track, before the senior group returns next week.