Family history provides inspiration for determined Dale

If Frazer Dale doesn’t get another opportunity at an AFL club this year, he will follow the example of his uncle, former Australian Test cricketer Adam Dale.

Dale, who will turn 20 in November, was delisted by Carlton after a two-year rookie stint that produced two AFL games.

The athletic utility remains hopeful that he will receive a second chance via either the delisted free agency period (November 1-13) or the draft system, and is aware of “a little bit of interest” in him among clubs.

Failing that, Dale has a back-up plan that somewhat resembles the life-changing decision made by his uncle shortly before his own birth in 1993.

Adam Dale was a canny opening bowler in Melbourne district cricket when the then 24-year-old relocated to Queensland seeking more opportunities at state level, and ended up representing the country in 30 one-dayers and two Tests.

His nephew hopes he doesn’t have to resort to a move interstate, but believes it could give his stalled AFL career a much-needed jump-start.

“If an AFL club doesn’t pick me up, I’ll definitely be making a fresh start interstate,” Dale told AFL.com.au.

“I’ve discussed it with my uncle, and it obviously opened up some doors for him in his cricket career. I’d be hoping the same kind of thing would happen for me with my AFL career.

“I’ve had offers from state league clubs in Western Australia and South Australia, so that might be a way to work my way back into the AFL.”

The teenager wasn’t surprised by his delisting, given he was well down the pecking order for elevation to the Blues’ primary list.

Ahead of him on the club’s rookie list were Ed Curnow, Tom Bell and Jaryd Cachia, who this year played 44 AFL games between them.

Dale’s two AFL games came in late 2012, and those brief exposures boosted his confidence that he can make it at AFL level.

So did the first of his two NAB Cup appearances this year, in which he posted equal team-high tallies of kicks (six) and inside 50s (three) in an abbreviated clash with the Sydney Swans.

Dale spent the entire season with Carlton’s VFL affiliate Northern Blues and alternated between half-forward, half-back and a wing. He finished the year strongly, averaging 21 disposals in the last five games as a wingman.

“My versatility is a real strength of mine but it sort of became a weakness,” he said.

“Without making any excuses or wanting to pigeon-hole myself, I was thrown around a bit and I wasn’t able to settle down into the one position, and that limited my ability to excel in one spot.

“Towards the end of the year my form improved when I settled on the wing.”

Dale emphasised that he is still only 19, and that in his draft year “six or seven” clubs spoke to him – and he is now a better player.

“I’m hoping that one of those clubs sees my development on the rookie list over the past couple of years and still thinks I have something to offer at AFL level,” he said.