Senior James Tunstill (2021-)

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Sep 14, 2006
AFL Club
Brisbane Lions
Other Teams
GWS; CCMariners; NQCowboys; Ravens
James Tunstill is prepared to go the extra mile for his footy career.

The Lions’ final selection in the 2021 NAB AFL Draft spent the past year doing the 450km round trip from his Busselton home in the Southwest of Western Australia to Perth to play footy.

Each week he’d make the trip to turn out for either WAFL Club East Perth or the WA State 19s side.

It was only his first full season in an elite program, and it seemed to the many scouts who tracked his progressed that his game developed on a weekly basis.

The 41st pick in the draft has made a name for himself as a hard-working midfielder capable of breaking lines with his run and carry and also his attacking ball use.

EAST PERTH midfielder James Tunstill has enjoyed a solid season at WAFL Colts level, earning selection in the West Australian Under 19’s State Squad and seeing his side finish top three at season’s end. Tunstill has made a name for himself as a hard working midfielder capable of breaking opposition lines with his carry and kicking. In Saturday’s do-or-die final against East Fremantle, Tunstill stood up to be a major ball winner in the Royals’ midfield.

James Tunstill East Perth/Western Australia
DOB: 18/07/2003 (18-years-old) Height: 185cmWeight: 76kg
Position: Midfielder
2021 Averages: WAFL Colts (15 games)
21.6 disposals | 14.3 kicks | 7.3 handballs | 3.3 marks | 3.2 tackles | 4.9 inside 50s | 0.4 goals (6 total)

James Tunstill a current Year 12 student has had a busy year of school with preparation for ATAR exams as well as playing Australian Rules Football in the West Australian Football League.

“During the season, I train two to three times a week, depending on whether the state program is running. If the state program is going on, then I will train Monday nights in Boyanup, Tuesday and Thursday nights in Perth if we’re playing a state game on the weekend, but it certainly changes every week.”

“I utilise any spare time I have to get on top of my studies. It is something that I have had to improve on and get better at. Being organised is essential to getting through Year 12, especially with extra commitments,” said James.

James is grateful for the support from his teachers at School throughout the year saying, “My teachers have been really understanding of my situation. I am really thankful for their guidance and help throughout the year. They are prepared to do the extra work which is really encouraging.”

The draft hopeful is patiently waiting for next year’s draft to be announced, but he also has a solid back-up plan.

“If I get picked up (for the Australian Football League) then that sorts me out for next year, but if I don’t then I intend to move up to Perth. I received an early offer at UWA for Sport Science, so that is sort of Plan B. I want to move closer to my WAFL club, East Perth, as well.”

“I definitely want to play AFL footy. It is something that I have dreamt of as a kid, so to realise that dream would be unreal. Fulfilling whatever potential is important to me. I don’t want to have any regrets so if I give it a good crack then I can be proud of that,” added James.


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Way too much to say
Mar 12, 2003
AFL Club
Brisbane Lions
Other Teams

Article paywalled...
From Busselton to Brisbane, James Tunstill will start his new life as a Lion on Sunday after realising his AFL dream during the week. The hard-working East Perth midfielder was one of 16 West Aussies picked up across the national and rookie drafts, going to Brisbane with their final pick and 41st overall in what he considers a “lucky” club to join.

Tunstill a classy inside mid who models his game on Adam Cerra, was excited to learn from one of the most well-rounded midfield brigades in the AFL. After a hectic juggling act with school in Bunbury, living and working in Busselton and driving up for WAFL colts training and matches multiple times a week, Tunstill feels like the hard yards he put in has all been worth it. “It’s a mixture of excitement and relief for the work that not only I put in but my mum and dad and family and friends, they’ve all come along for the ride,” Tunstill said. “For everyone involved, it was a really great moment and it’s quite awesome."

“For me personally, I’m just very grateful for Brisbane picking me and grateful for everyone’s help along the way. Lachie Neale, Hugh McCluggage, Dayne Zorko and the Berry brothers (Jarrod and Thomas), there’s a lot of players I’m excited to meet and work with,” Tunstill said. “I’m really lucky to go to Brisbane I think.”

Unlike most of WA’s interstate draftees, the 18-year-old gets a pre-Christmas training block with his new teammates instead of relocating in the New Year. Tunstill will be living with fellow country lad Kalin Lane, a towering mid-season draftee from the Great Southern via Claremont. “It will be good to get settled early on and when I go back after Christmas, it will be all a bit more familiar,” he said. “I’ve still got a bit to sort out but I’m really looking forward to getting over there straight away.”

Tunstill spoke with Brisbane earlier in the week and recruiting boss Stephen Conole visited his family’s Busselton home mid-season, but was still unsure if they were going to draft him. “They were probably in the top two or three clubs in terms of interest so when it got to pick 41 I was hopeful and luckily enough it was me,” Tunstill said.

Tunstill is hoping he can thrive in a settled, full-time AFL environment after training in multiple locations and spending countless hours in the car in his final year of colts and doing the 450km Busselton-to-Perth roundtrip regularly. “To think that I’ll be close to training and settled down with footy just being the main thing, I think there’s a real opportunity there to thrive in that environment as a player,” he said.

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