By PETER ARGENT
The boy from Millicent, Mason Redman, who has just signed a five-year deal which should make him an Essendon player for life, has a strong connection to grassroots football in our state.
He played senior football with the Saints in the Western Border Football League in his mid-teens, having made his debut for the club’s A Grade at 15, before moving to Adelaide.
Redman won a position in the 2014 Murray-South East (MSE) zone team, which played in the SA Country Championships that year in the Yorke Peninsula town of Kadina.
At this stage of his career, the lean and lissome in movement Redman already displayed a skillset, poise and healthy amount of footy acumen, which would take him to the top of the game.
The MSE side, coached by Luke Duncan and managed by long time servant of the district Scott Duncan, won the 2014 event, starting a stellar era in which they won three of the next four Country Championships.
“I was bench coach when he was playing seniors for Millicent as well,” Scott Duncan told SANFL.com.au
“He was a bit of a late developer and in the 2014 season he was asked to do a number of roles.
“Mason is a very competitive character and was quite level-headed for a teenager.
“One of his strengths was his ability to adsorb information, along with being able to take a good overhead mark and he had a good football IQ.
“On top of that he was a genuine young man – a great kid, respectful and is still is the same today.”
The following year, 2015, Redman moved up to Adelaide and played with Glenelg, along with undertaking his Year 12 schooling at Concordia College.
This was another big year in Redman’s development.
He began this 2015 season in the under 18s for Glenelg, then represented South Australia in the AFL Under 18 Championships.
After the nationals, he played reserves for Glenelg and two league games for the Bays as well before the end of the season.
At the national draft held in Adelaide, at the Convention Centre, he was recruited by the Essendon Football Club with pick 30 overall in the 2015 national draft.
“He was always a lad that wanted to get to the top, and was quite a driven young man,” explained Brenton Hole, Glenelg SANFL Talent Manager at the time.
“Mason was also focused on his Year 12 studies and on whatever he wanted to achieve.
“He has a good balance of speed and endurance, along with a solid kick and really attacks the contest.
“Mason was also a strong team-orientated person.
“His Dad, Joel, back at Millicent was a great support to his children – he’d do time trials with Mason.
“Mason has a lot of similar traits to Lachie Neale, especially when we talk about work ethic and wanting to learn.”
The following season he made his debut (in an 81-point loss) against the Sydney Swans at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Round 7 of the 2016 AFL campaign.
He has developed into a heart-and-soul clubman.
In 2019, Redman collected Essendon’s Most Improved Player award, in 2021 he secured the John Kilby Staff and Trainers Award and last year he was honoured with the Bruce Heymanson Best Clubman Award.
On July 25, Essendon proudly announced that Mason Redman has turned his back on free agency and committed to the Bombers until at least the end of 2028.
A heart-beat of the Essendon team, Redman is a fan-favourite with his iconic ‘Red Dog’ celebration, when he kicks a long-range goal.
Always tough competitor who is a leader of Essendon’s backline, Redman’s vocal encouragement combined with his tenacious spirit makes him influential and integral to Essendon’s success.
“I’ve absolutely loved my eight years at the Bombers but it’s the potential of this group that excites me the most,” Redman said in his press conference following his contract extension signing.
“I couldn’t be more impressed by the footy club this year and the environment we are trying to create.
“I’m optimistic success is just around the corner for this club – our members and supporters.”
Mason’s young brother, Eli, was a member of the 2023 SA under 18s program and is currently playing with the Glenelg under-18s.
This Saturday in Round 21, Mason will play his landmark 100th game against the West Coast Eagles at Marvel Stadium.