Junior Clubs: Wangaratta Rovers FC
Clubs: Brisbane Lions
Debut: Rd 11 2014
Recruited from: Essendon Bombers VFL
Brownlow Votes: -
Zac O'Brien is an hard-running midfielder who plied his trade with Yarrawonga, Aberfeldie and Essendon VFL before being drafted to the AFL at the mature age of 23. He has forged a reputation for being a workaholic midfielder, who runs all day, boasts clean hands, and makes smart decisions with the ball.
• O’Brien was a relative journeyman in Victorian football circles. Originally from Wangaratta, he went on to represent Yarrawonga in the Ovens and Murray Football League, before a move to Melbourne in 2012 saw him join Aberfeldie in the Essendon Districts Football League (EDFL).
• He proved a standout in the EDFL and looked capable of playing at a higher level, so decided to join Essendon’s VFL side where he quickly caught the eye of AFL recruiters.
• He played 11 games and kicked three goals for Essendon (VFL) in 2013, averaging 14 kicks, eight handballs, and five marks per game.
• He was invited to the state screening, where he produced an impressive 14.2 beep test result - further enhancing his draft credentials.
• His persistence ended up paying off, with the Lions drafting him with Pick No.23 in the 2013 AFL Rookie Draft – a day he remembers as the ‘best of his life’.
• Before being drafted, O'Brien had completed his Bachelor of Health Sciences (Chiropractic)/Masters of Chiropractic Clinic, but happily left his Chiropractic career behind momentarily to pursue his AFL dream.