This week’s ‘Off The Pitch’ features a player on the rise who seems to have the knack of scoring a goal or two. Currently plying his trade at the Sunshine Coast Fire and patiently biding his time on the bench for the senior squad, he’s scored more than a hatful of goals over the past two seasons, bagging 32 in last year’s under 18 competition as well as four in four games for the youth side.
Despite coming off the bench in all seven appearances this year, he’s his side’s top scorer and third in the league overall with five goals, not a bad effort at all. He’s very popular in the social media set as well and this week we talk to 17-year-old centre forward, Jacob Fulluck.
QSN: So what was your first exposure to football?
JF: It all started in our family garden as a child when I was about five years old and we were still living in the UK. I asked my dad to find me a football team. He almost fell off his bench in shock because he played professional football himself (Jacob’s father Steve played for Plymouth Argyle) so he didn’t really think I was going to ask him. He found me a little local team about five minutes down the road and it went from there.
QSN: Who are your football influences?
JF: Well obviously my Dad figures very highly. We left the UK when I was about ten or eleven to come out to Australia for a new challenge. If it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t be where I am now with the hours he’s put in with me to train outside of my formalised club training. I don’t think I’d be as good as I am now without that. In saying that, Dad didn’t push me into going and playing football. As I said before, it all came about from those kicks we used to have in the garden.
The other influence during my junior career was Shaun Brooks. I went to his academy in the UK on the nights I had off training. Some of the things he said to me back then, I still remember now.
QSN: So how did you get into the Sunshine Coast Fire system?
JF: I’d been playing with Buderim in the junior premier league when that was running and that then switched over to Fire. At the time, I didn’t really want to go to the Fire with some of the circumstances that were happening at the club so I decided to take a year out and stay in the local league and play with my mates for a year or two.
I had a pretty good season the year before I went to the Fire. Arnie (Paul Arnison, previous Fire under 18 coach, now NPL head coach) who was the 18’s coach that season came and watched a few of my games and asked me to join the Fire to play in his under 18 squad when I was still sixteen.
QSN: What sort of support have you had from Paul personally and from the remainder of the squad while at the Fire?
JF: Paul made me captain of last year’s under 18 squad. I wouldn’t have scored as many goals last year as I did without his support at training but this season, he’s had a huge impact in keeping me at the Fire and helping me out with extra training.
The boys in the squad, I wouldn’t have as much confidence on the field as I do now without them during training. No matter the situation, during the game or at training in midweek, they just make me feel like as if I’m one of the senior players.
QSN: You had a bit of an injury setback towards the end of last year, how did that affect you?
JF: In October last year, I was playing in a semi-final of a Queensland School of Schools tournament and I’ve gone down in the first seven minutes when I rolled my ankle, heard a snap and it was the worst pain I’ve ever had. It turned out to be a ruptured ATFL in my ankle (anterior talofibula ligament) and I had about four months out from all activities.
I hated when it happened for a number of reasons; because it meant I missed the final in what would have been my last game for the school because I was in grade 12. What made it worse was that I couldn’t even go and support the boys because I was still in hospital. I was devastated because we’d worked together as a team to get to that point.
I hated being injured and being out of football because I didn’t know what to do with myself but the sports physio team at the Fire got me back to how I am now. Off my own back, I asked them to give me exercises to do to strengthen up my ankle and now everything is fine again.
QSN: You’re still only 17, you haven’t started a game this year for the seniors and seen limited action off the bench but you’ve still managed five goals off the bench in seven appearances which is a pretty fair effort. Is that the aim for this season, to seal a starting place in the senior team?
JF: Oh definitely. I keep hounding Arnie about what I have to do to get to that point. If I did start, I’d feel as though I’d be showing a different side to my game than what I do when I come off the bench but I’m prepared to be patient and wait until I get my chance.
QSN: What aspirations do you have going forward, where do you want your footballing career to go?
JF: I want to move forward to the A-League or overseas. Being so young and playing well, I reckon I’ll be able to achieve my goals soon enough. It’s just a matter of being patient and waiting for that opportunity to come along.
QSN: Some quick-fire questions. Favourite music, food, football idol and football team.
JF: Music – RnB Rap, Hip Hop, Electric Dance. Food – Sushi. Football idol – Lionel Messi. Football team – Everton.
QSN: You’re a bit of a favourite on Instagram with almost 10,000 followers. How has that happened?
JF: I’m not really sure, it just happened (laugh)
QSN: Thanks Jacob for speaking to us and best wishes from us for your footballing aspirations. Jacob and his Sunshine Coast Fire teammates are off to Ipswich this weekend for an important clash against the Western Pride on Saturday night with kickoff at 7pm.
Oh, by the way, if you want to help him get to 10,000 followers, you can follow him on Instagram at the handle: @fully9
Playing number: 9
Club Name: Sunshine Coast Fire
Position: Striker/Centre Forward
- Queensland Schoolboys 2012 – Adelaide
- Sunshine Coast representative teams