Josh Drummond is a triumph for perseverance. Overlooked in no less than eight drafts before finally getting his chance, he forged an excellent 94-game career with the Brisbane Lions that was more impactful than it was long and catapulted him into the AFL coaching ranks.

A Maroochydore junior who represented Queensland at Under 18 level in 2001, he was overlooked by every AFL club at the national, pre-season and rookie drafts of 2001 and 2002, and the national and pre-season draft of 2003 before the Lions gave him a chance as a rookie.

His breakthrough came after he’d played three years of QAFL with the Northern Eagles, highlighted in 2003 when he won the Zillmere best and fairest and the coveted Zane Taylor Medal as Queensland’s best player against ACT at Coorparoo.

But joining a side that had just won three AFL premierships in a row wasn’t easy and it was Round 8 2005 before he made an eye-catching AFL debut against the Adelaide Crows at age 22 in front of 42,357 at Football Park.

He didn’t look back. Entrusted with the kick-in duties from his second game, a role previously filled by the great Chris Johnson, Josh quickly established himself in the top side and was a regular whenever available thereafter.

Armed with a lethal left foot the equal of any in the competition, he was chosen in the honorary Queensland State of Origin Team of the Year in 2007-08-09 and was described by then Lions coach Michael Voss as “one of the most valuable players in the side”. Such was his football IQ, he was elevated to the leadership group in 2011-12 and quickly identified as a coach in waiting.

Three Brownlow Medal votes in Round 10 2012, when he had 26 possessions and kicked three goals from defence in a two-point Gabba win over West Coast were a measure of his talent and a sign of what could have been.

But injuries denied him an extended crack at it. A shoulder reconstruction in 2006 and a revolutionary knee reconstruction via the new LARS method in 2010 were major setbacks before eventually a chronic hip complaint ended his career.

Ironically, the same hip complaint led to his first coaching job at North Melbourne. After taking himself to North Melbourne to see renowned sports physiotherapist Steve Saunders in the hope of extending his playing career, he was so impressive at the club that senior coach Brad Scott offered him a job.

He served as development coach and an assistant coach under Scott and later Rhyce Shaw from 2013-19 before the lure of home saw him accept a similar role with the Gold Coast SUNS in 2020. After three years as an assistant coach to Stuart Dew he chose to expand his experience and took charge of the Gold Coast VFL side in 2023.