James O'Donnell (OX 2020) re-signed by the Western Bulldogs for 2024-25.
Thursday, 17 August 2023
James O’Donnell’s (OX 2020) remarkable 2023 footballing journey continued this week with the 20-year-old re-signed by the Western Bulldogs for 2024-25.
All this for a young man who on Sunday plays his 10th senior game after no football in 2020-22, and very little in 2019 when he was a gangly Year 12 student at Xavier College struggling to get a kick.
O’Donnell is now a 197cm defender with an insatiable appetite for AFL knowledge, to the point where his agility, speed and endurance could well see him employed further up the ground. He is the wildcard category B selection every club desires.
Those watching closely towards the end of the round 21 Western Bulldogs-Richmond clash would have noted Richmond’s veteran key forward Jack Riewoldt involved in deep discussion with his young opponent in O’Donnell.
But far from it being a tense conversation, Riewoldt, 34, and with 335 more games to his name, was generously passing on tips to O’Donnell when the game was all but over and the ball up the other end.
Riewoldt even went so far as to actually lead to areas where he explained he could hurt his opponent. The free lessons continued after the final siren, much to the delight of the awe-struck one-time cricketer.