Sebit’s journey to the Royals

Friday, July 24, 2020 - 5:05 PM

Developing forward Sebit Kuek has capped off an impressive pre-season, selected to make his league debut in East Perth’s season opener against Perth.

League Coach Jeremy Barnard has named seven club debutants for the Round 2 clash, with 19-year-old Kuek to join Angus Schumacher, Aidan Lynch, Corey Watts, Tom Hooper, Jordan Hayden and Tom Amos.

Kuek, a product of Ellenbrook Junior Football Club and a former member of the West Coast Eagles’ Next Generation Academy, arrived at East Perth in 2018 through the club's Colts program. Football Operations Manager Warren Parker said Kuek’s selection was testament to his hard work and the club’s talent pathway.

“To give a local kid who was playing colts football last year an opportunity to play league football early in the season is what we strive to do from a pathway perspective,” Parker told eastperthfc.com.au.

“For Sebit to have the opportunity now to be playing league football is a real reflection of that pathway working. It’s a credit to him, he’s done a lot of work over the pre-season but it’s also a really good reflection of our pathway in action.”

Born in a Kenyan refugee camp to South Sudanese parents, the Kuek family arrived in Australia in 2007 and moved to Perth (via Melbourne) in 2009.

First introduced to Australian Rules Football at a school carnival in year 6, Kuek said a growth spurt in his late teens cemented his position in the forward line.

"I was about 175cm in year 10 and since then I've grown about 20cm to 197cm now," he said.

Finishing equal runner up in the Colts’ Hec Strempel Award voting count in 2019, Kuek featured in East Perth’s two pre-season hit outs against Subiaco and South Fremantle.

“He’s a tall forward who’s a bit more athletic and mobile than he might be given credit for,” Parker said.

“He’s around 197 centimetres, there’s only about 70 kilos of him, so he’s not a big, strapping man but he moves across the ground really well. He’s actually quite tenacious with his tackling pressure and pressure around the ball when it hits the ground.

“He’s got big, sticky hands so when the ball’s in the air and he flies at it, he at least creates a contest or clucks them, which is exactly what he’s there to do.”

Affectionately dubbed ‘The Difference’ by his teammates, Kuek was humbled by the senior call up.

"I was really shook. I arrived from Colts thinking, 'I'm a 75 kilo key forward, I'm not going to play any games.'

"I knew I was going to have to work as hard as I could in the Reserves and hopefully in a year or two I would be able to get a chance to play league football, once I put on weight.

"To get a chance this early, shows the hard work I've been putting in has really paid off.

"East Perth has been really good to me on field and off field - the club means a lot."

League bouncedown is at 3.05pm on Saturday at Mineral Resources Park.