Former Cardiff Hawks junior and Sydney Swans Academy player Lucas Borrow is kicking new goals – as a college football punter on the other side of the world.
The ex-AFL young gun recently debuted for the Ball State University Cardinals in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) season opener against the Western Illinois Leathernecks.
For his part, the 21-year-old Hunter product registered one punt for 28 yards in the 31-21 victory.
“It [debut] was an unbelievable experience,” Borrow said.
“It was my first college football game with a crowd (which usually exceeds 100,000 people) after not being allowed any fans last season.
“Running through a smoke machine, in front of supporters and the student section at the beginning of the match, is something I’ll never forget.”
The son of Chris and Leonie Borrow began his journey to the NFL when he moved to Melbourne, from Newcastle, in 2019.
But, it wasn’t all smooth sailing.
“I had some injuries playing AFL, which led me to joining a program called Prokick Australia run by Nathan Chapman,” he said.
“I trained full-time with those guys – and was picked up on a scholarship in the United States last year, gaining a spot in the Cardinals’ travel squad soon afterwards.
“They [Prokick Australia] are the reason I could do any of this.
“So, I’m forever grateful for what they’ve done.
“Quite simply, it’s the best decision of my life.
“Basically, what they do is transfer the skill set from footy to punting an American football.”
Even though the Cardinals have dropped fixtures to the Penn State Nittany Lions (44-13), Wyoming Cowboys (45-12) and Toledo Rockets (22-12) in recent weeks, Borrow is keen to develop his craft.
“This season, I just want to be consistent for my team and take every opportunity I can get,” he said.
“I want my side to know when I go out there, I’m going to execute and do my job when it counts – to put us in the best position we can be in.
“At the moment, I’m just taking it one game at a time.
“Obviously, every player has individual goals of making it as far as they can.
“However, I’m more focused on each match as it comes and we’ll see what happens in the future.
“I know punting isn’t everyone’s favourite play of the game.
“But, my team holds a standard of expecting to win and that’s what we’ll keep trying to achieve.
“So, whatever I can do to help make that happen is what I’ll do.”
Borrow won the 2017 Black Diamond Shield with Cardiff as a 17-year-old before becoming a mainstay in the club’s first grade side in 2018.
And, no matter what happens in the future, he’ll always have fond memories of his time at the Hawks.
“I have so many recollections at Hillsborough Oval as a junior,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.
“The days where I would play a full game of footy with my mates, run off and have a pie and a Gatorade before running back on and playing another match in the age above was the most fun.
“Probably not the most fun for mum and dad waiting around all day on a Sunday – however, I just loved being around the club.
“I made so many life-long friends there and memories that I’ll never forget.
“One that stands out the most to me was the premiership team that I was lucky enough to be a part of in 2017.”
Another local junior Isaac Pearson, who also followed the same pathway, was recruited in 2020 to The University of Texas.
Get all the latest Newcastle news, sport, entertainment, lifestyle, competitions and more delivered straight to your inbox with the Newcastle Weekly Daily Newsletter. Sign up here.