DETERMINED Jarred Ellis is refusing to let some hard knocks derail his crack at the Aussie Rules big time.
The 17-year-old is back in training with his Broadbeach Cats side as it prepares for the 2013 season.
Lennox Head-based Ellis, who joined his club mates for their open training session at Byron Bay on Saturday, has had a disrupted few months due to a serious shoulder injury
With the injury now hopefully behind him, the prom-ising star is already targeting possible selection for the AFL draft over the next two seasons.
"It would mean everything to me," he said.
"That is why I train so hard.
"I love playing footy and to play full-time would be amazing."
Ellis, who is a student at St John's College, Wood-lawn, has already developed a reputation as one to watch, representing Queensland and New South Wales at state age level.
The former Ballina Bombers junior is coming into his third season with the Gold Coast side, which plays in the North East Australian Football League (NEAFL) Northern Conference.
Sydney Swans-loving Ellis needed reconstruction surgery on his right shoulder after being injured midway through last year.
The Year 12 student said being sidelined had been a soul-destroying experience.
"It has been one of the hardest things for me," he said.
"It has been very tough watching the boys train while I sit around.
"I had a good surgeon (though) and I am confident I can make it back."
Clubs around the country take part in the NEAFL, which is a potential stepping stone for promising players to the AFL.
Ellis said he was confident his side could go well this year in the competition, which includes representative sides from AFL clubs the Gold Coast Suns and Brisbane Lions.
"There is a really good vibe around the club," he said.
"I hope we can get up there (in the standings) and make the finals this year."
Ellis, who has been a member of the Suns' training academy for two years, was bitten by the AFL bug while on a family trip to Wagga Wagga as a child.
"I used to play soccer," he said.
"I was a goalkeeper, but I was pretty rubbish!
"I just liked the jumping and catching side of things.
"I had a couple of games of AFL and I just got hooked.
"I love how it is a free-flowing game.
"It is a great sport and there are lots of opportunities."