He is no stranger to representing his state, or country, in the sports he loved, but Tasmanian Dylan Pace insists he is still humbled by the opportunity to represent his island home.
The AFL’s National Inclusion Carnival, an event that brings athletes from right across the country together, came to Launceston last month, in a celebration of what football is all about – social connection, competitiveness and fun.
One such athlete is 25-year-old Dylan Pace, of Lauderdale in the state’s south.
Pace enjoyed a successful Carnival in the famous ‘Map’ guernsey, going on to be selected in the All-Australian team.
A talent across multiple sports, Pace concedes he was taken aback by his All-Australian selection.
“I was a bit shocked to get selected in the All Australian team. It is an honour, but one that I really didn’t see coming.
“I love playing for Tasmania, it is something I’m really proud of and to be recognised in the All-Australian squad means a lot to me.”
Pace, a classy on-baller, is no stranger to being recognised for his sporting prowess, however, having represented Tasmania and Australia in basketball, while also being named in the AFL Inclusion Carnival All-Australian squad of 2017 after the event on the Gold Coast.
Tasmania had a mixed campaign on the field, registering wins over NSW/ACT in the Lightning Round and Round one, but it was abundantly clear to all watching that this was a squad that loved competing and playing together.
“We were all disappointed about the team not winning more games during the carnival, but we started to jel together more and more as the week went on and things started to come together. A lot of these guys were in the team together last season as well so we all get along really well.
“We have had fantastic coaches and great support that has helped us come together even closer as a group and improve as players,” Pace said.
Through participating in the Inclusion Carnivals of the last two seasons, Pace, a passionate Richmond supporter, is looking forward to joining a local football club down the line to continue playing one of the games he loves, while as a midfielder he has one key role model that he looks up to on the football field.
“Football is life to me. To be able to play with mates and compete keeps me going. I don’t know where I’d be without footy and sport in general.
“I love watching Scott Pendlebury play. As a former basketball player I like to base my game off the work he does and his elite fitness. The fitness aspect of footy is something that really keeps me driven and motivated.”
Although a passionate fan of both football and basketball, Pace admits AFL holds a special place in his heart.
“With only five people in a team basketball can sometimes not be quite as social. To be part of a bigger team full of nice people makes footy really enjoyable.
“I can’t wait to be involved in more Inclusion Carnivals in future.”
2018 AFL Inclusion All-Australian team
Kelvin Walters (Vic Country)
Adam Orchard (NSW/ACT)
Zachary Georg-Dent (SA) – Captain
Josh Correra (QLD)
Keenan Georg-Dent (SA)
Kelvin O’Connor (Vic Metro)
Jarrod Redcliffe (Vic Country)
Luke Goodman (SA)
David Alford (Vic Metro) – Vice Captain
David Hallows (WA)
Brandon Sanders (Vic Metro)
Mitch Robl (Vic Country)
Brad Lawrence (QLD)
Dylan Pace (TAS)
Peter Apuatimi (NT)
Byron Mayo (NT)
Coach: Rob Klemm (Vic Metro)
The AFL and AFL Tasmania acknowledges the support of partners New Horizons Club, Tourism Northern Tasmania and the City of Launceston, with support from the Tasmanian Government – Events Tasmania; Communities, Sport and Recreation, Department of Social Services and the Hawthorn Football Club.