At 18 years of age, Kain Proctor already knows how much hard work it takes to make it in the AFL.
The eldest son of former Richmond player Lionel Proctor, who played 20 games for the club between 1998-2001, commenced pre-season training with Richmond’s VFL squad in November and is determined to make the most of the opportunity.
Proctor took part in the 2014 Laguntas Program with Richmond’s Korin Gamadji Institute and managed to impress with a best on ground performance against the Vic Country U/16 squad.
The Laguntas, run in partnership with AFL Victoria and AFL Sports Ready, is a football development program providing young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men with genuine access to TAC, VFL and AFL pathways.
This was Proctor’s second time in the Laguntas squad, having been given the opportunity to attend pre-season try-outs with the Northern Knights after his performance in 2013. However, he made the difficult decision to leave after injuring his hand.
He returned to the Laguntas this year and was selected as team captain after displaying strong resilience and leadership characteristics.
“At the end of last year it felt like I was going nowhere with my footy and then all of a sudden I’m going somewhere again,” said Proctor.
“This is my second chance now to have another crack at it. I have a lot more to work for now.”
Having grown up as a Richmond supporter, Proctor is keen to follow in the Yellow and Black footsteps of his father.
“I feel proud coming here knowing that Dad was here too. It feels comfortable to be here,” Proctor said.
“It’s overwhelming. I walk into the gym and there’s Jack Riewoldt.
“I’ve idolised them all for so many years and now I’m training alongside them. It’s pretty crazy.”
Proctor has been able to seek guidance from his favourite Richmond player, Dustin Martin, who has been acting as a mentor for this year’s Laguntas participants.
Proctor has also had the support of fellow Indigenous VFL player Clayton McCartney, who he said has inspired him to further realise his AFL dream.
“It’s been good watching him, another Indigenous boy going through the ranks. He’s taken me under his wing a little bit,” Proctor said.
“There’s not many Indigenous boys in Victoria, or anywhere else that even get a shot at this sort of thing. It makes me really proud that I have been given this chance.”
The Laguntas Program is supported by the Victorian Electoral Commission.
See Kain in action during the 2014 Program: