Trent Warren Signs On

It’s 2014 and Trent Warren has a decision to make.

A natural athlete, Warren excels at both football and basketball. More, he loves both. But which sporting dream should the young man chase?

In truth, there’s no wrong answer.

He could stay in his comfort zone, surrounded by the safety net of friends and family, to pursue an AFL dream and be satisfied.

That the basketball path was an opportunity which would take him overseas and into the ultra-competitive, quasi-professional US College system further complicates an already difficult call. For all the upheaval and risk, things were sweetened by a scholarship.

Sorry to lead the witness, but maybe difficult decisions can be easy… Like I said, there was no wrong answer.

Warren would pack up and head stateside, plying his trade at Peninsula College in Port Angeles, Washington, before flying south to San Francisco’s California State, East Bay campus for years three and four.

“The experience was second to none,” Warren says reflecting on his college stay.

“You can’t really describe it without living it, it’s exactly like the movies in a lot of ways.

“As a student athlete you’re on posters across campus, there are big crowds at games and lots of publicity. It can be pretty full on.

“It’s a super professional program. Daily meetings, daily training sessions and daily check-ups with staff.

“Obviously we’re amateur athletes and not paid, but everything else – the preparations, facilities, coaching and expectations – are at the elite level.”

Having left Australia & it’s native game behind, Warren was fully immersed in the here and now of collegiate basketball. However, in his mind there was never any doubt he’d make his way home and pick up a Sherrin again.

“I played both sports all my life. Footy from Under 9s all the way through to Under 17s and loved every minute. It just became too hard to play both at the same time.

“I thought, ‘I can always come back to footy,’ whereas the basketball path, especially the opportunity I had to go over, study and play, that’s really only available at 18-19 years old.”

Warren would come home in 2020 and set his sights on a return to football, eventually landing a spot on Box Hill’s 2021 list via the Category B Alternate Sport Program.

“I’d been training with Anthony Phillips [father of teammate Ed], working with him one-on-one knowing I wanted to come back to footy.

“Luckily, thanks to a link with Andy Collins I was invited down to train at Box Hill. I did enough to impress the right people and was invited back.

“A couple months on I’ve been able to win a spot on the list.”

The reality is football is not basketball; and footy at this level is a significant step up from what Warren was last exposed to in 2014. Simply, shifting codes has required more than a change of footwear.  

“Getting back into things was an interesting process. You can do all the training you want, but the conditioning required by each sport couldn’t be more different. Especially when it comes to playing.

“So, that’s something that will take a bit of time, but we’ll continue to work hard to get to that place.”

Beyond reacquainting himself with the physical demands of footy, Warren’s goals for 2021 are relatively simple. And he thinks the Box Hill program provides the perfect platform to achieve those goals.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve played the game, so firstly I want to pick-up my development. From there it’s about winning a debut with the senior side.

“Players like Josh Deluca and Hugh Beasley have been brilliant for me. They’ve got the experience at this level and beyond and are so willing to help.

“As for our coaches, there’s no question we’ve got the best staff in the VFL, it’s a brilliant group. So, to be able to learn from my teammates and coaches, build off that, get a first game, then a second – that’s the goal.”

An integral part of Box Hill’s allure was Senior Coach Sam Mitchell, who was running the engine room of one of the game’s greatest dynasties last time Warren kicked a football.

“Working with a coach of Sam’s quality was hugely enticing.

“He’s a guy who has achieved so much in the game and is now giving it all back to us. He’s so invested in the group, he takes great care of all of us and really wants each individual to achieve the most we can out of our footy.

“Having him to listen to and learn off, to be able to take in all of what he’s got to offer us, it’s massive for me individually and our group.”

The composition of Box Hill’s 2021 playing list will be finalised in the coming days.

Similar Posts