LIN Jong hopes to be a trailblazer for Asian junior footballers dreaming of cracking the AFL.
Born in Melbourne of a Taiwanese mother and East Timorese father - both moved to Australia about 25 years ago - Jong was yesterday chosen by the Western Bulldogs with pick No.9 in the AFL rookie draft.
Equally remarkable is the fact that the Jong, 18, an athletic midfielder, only started playing football at 15 after being persuaded by mates at Brentwood Secondary College to ditch his basketball for a Sherrin.
"Hopefully it might inspire some kids to start playing footy,'' Jong said. "But I'll just try to do my best and whatever happens, happens, really.''
The Oakleigh Charger is certainly the first AFL player of Taiwanese-Timorese descent, but he is not the first player with Asian heritage to play the game.
Wally Koochew is acknowledged as the VFL-AFL's first Chinese footballer after he started at Carlton in 1908, while two-time North Melbourne premiership player Peter Bell is perhaps the most famous example. He was born in South Korea of a Korean mother and American father.
Click HERE for the full story from the Herald Sun's Matt Windley.