CEDRIC Cox’s whirlwind journey from promising footballer living in a remote Western Australian community to Hampden league rising star will result in his TAC Cup debut on Saturday.
The first-year Camperdown jet has earned a mid-season call-up to North Ballarat Rebels’ list after a string for eye-catching performances for the Magpies and a solid showing at senior interleague level.
Rebels talent manager Phil Partington said Cox’s decision to relocate and test himself in a different football environment highlighted his eagerness to play at a higher level.
“We’ve known about Cedric for eight or nine weeks through Camperdown footy club and through Aaron Sinnott and close ties with Chris McLaren too,” he said.
“He’s trained the last three weeks with us. He’s 19 and we have five 19-year-olds on our list and can play four in any one game.
“(Koroit’s) James Gow will play VFL footy on Saturday, so that gives Cedric an opportunity to play TAC Cup.”
Cox is the latest indigenous player from interstate to join the North Ballarat pathway program.
Jake Neade (Port Adelaide), Daniel Rioli (Richmond), Yestin Eades (Essendon) and Dom Barry (Melbourne) were drafted after moving to Victoria to play for the Rebels.
“We’ve had great success with all of our indigenous boys,” Partington said.
“They’re not treated differently to anyone else. It’s a caring environment and they feel welcome.”
Retired Camperdown veteran Aaron Sinnott, who coached the Rebels’ Hampden-based prospects during pre-season, said the Magpies were thrilled to see Cox earn his TAC Cup debut.
"He’s done well against senior opponents and had a really good game against Koroit and played senior interleague,” he said.
“Every level he’s gone to he seems to be able to handle it well.”
Sinnott praised Camperdown reserves coach James Castles, who met Cox in Halls Creek two years ago, for playing a mentoring role to the exciting half-back flanker.