CAMPERDOWN footballer Sam Gordon will play for Port Adelaide Magpies after the SANFL club offered him a contract on the eve of the 2014 season.
Gordon, 20, had planned to play for a Geelong Football League club before a last-minute opportunity to join the Magpies had him organising a move to South Australia.
He will relocate to Adelaide on Wednesday and start training with his new club just weeks out from the new season.
The former Geelong Falcons forward trained with VFL clubs Port Melbourne and Footscray in the off-season as he started his comeback from a debilitating back injury.
Gordon was considered an AFL draft prospect before suffering a prolapsed disc in his back while working on his family’s farm in August 2012.
The injury, which forced him to confront his football mortality, ruled him out of draft combine testing and sidelined him from football for a year.
Gordon said he was elated with Port Adelaide’s decision to offer him a spot on its SANFL list after spending last week at the Alberton Oval-based club.
Former Geelong Falcons coach Aaron Greaves, who joined Port Adelaide’s coaching panel last October, invited Gordon to visit.
Gordon will play under former Geelong footballer Garry Hocking at the Magpies, while ex-Camperdown premiership coach Ken Hinkley will lead Port Power for a second AFL season.
“It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks,” Gordon said.
“I was thinking the GFL, thinking the smaller picture and then getting a big opportunity like this, I grabbed it with both hands.
“I can’t wait to get into it. I hope to play seniors.
“I need to work on my fitness base from having last year off but that is the goal — to play senior footy and hopefully to play consistent senior footy by the end of the year.”
Gordon said his back felt “really, really good” and it was all about management.
“I have been pretty lucky. I haven’t had any hiccups or setbacks,” he said.
“I get a little bit of soreness every so often but nothing to keep me out.
“I have to keep monitoring it and taking it step-by-step.”
Gordon said training with Port Melbourne and Footscray proved invaluable experience.
“At Port Melbourne I was down there until a bit after Christmas and did a lot of training,” he said.
“They didn’t have time to put into me because they had such a big list to pick from and fair enough because I was a fair way behind and still am and need time to get back.
“I trained with Footscray after that for four weeks.
“I was lucky with the opportunities I had.”
Gordon had planned to play in Geelong this year and continue training regularly with Footscray in the hope of joining the VFL ranks in 2015 before Port Adelaide Magpies gave him a chance to fast-track his career.