Eagles' Dad bursts with pride

Saturday, 24 September  2005 

Presenter: Vanessa Mills

Ashley Sampi flys high to take a mark. Getty Images


Proud Kimberley father Chris Sampi will watch his son Ashley run out on the field for the Eagles.

When the siren sounds for the start of play in Saturday’s AFL grand final, the crowd will roar across the nation.

But spare a thought if you can for the nervous mums and dads whose boys are playing their hearts out on the hallowed turf of MCG.

Broome man Chris Sampi will among the parents glued to the game, watching for his son Ashley in the blue and gold number 28 Guernsey.

It’s Ashley Sampi’s fourth season with the West Coast Eagles, and his first AFL premiership. He’s just turned 21.

The forward kicked 32 goals last year, and took the League's best mark of the year with a skyscraper leap against Melbourne in round seven.

However a foot injury hampered him this year, forcing him to miss six games.

But he's back in form and playing in game that counts.

Ashley grew up in Perth, Geraldton and at the Dampier Peninsula community of Djarradjin, which is Chris’s home, north of Broome.

He played football at Trinity College in Perth and was recruited to the Eagles from South Fremantle.

Chris says sporting talent runs in the family and Ashley took easily to any new sport. He says his son was a bright kid, although inclined to be a little rascal at times!

One of his proudest moments was going to his first AFL game, Eagles and Carlton at Subiaco last year, to see Ashley play.

Ashley’s brother Dwayne and mother Loretta Hill will be at the MCG.

Chris was planning to watch the game on TV surrounded by his friends from the Broome Saints Football Club. Chris is the club's assistant coach and a few weeks ago the team celebrated their first premiership win in 26 years.

Chris is hoping with a bit of luck he will have two Flags to fly.

But he won't have to watch the game on the box. Late on Grand Final eve a stroke of good fortune produced a plane ticket and a seat at the MCG.

For father & son, it will be a dream come true to be at the 'G for one of Australia's biggest sporting events.