South Brisbane gridiron quarterback here to win
IMPORTS like Tommy Corwin are helping to change the face of gridiron in Queensland, as the state looks to produce the next Jesse Williams.
Williams, a product from Brisbane's Bayside Ravens club, was a fifth-round draft pick at the NFL champions the Seattle Seahawks last year.
Corwin also brings plenty of credibility to the Gridiron Queensland competition.
The quarterback was a big import signing for the South Brisbane Wildcats, after representing the University of Central Missouri in the second-tier American college system.
He then went to play in France's top league, taking the Cannes Iron Mask team to its first national championship game in almost 20 years.
Other highlights in Corwin's career include breaking the record for most passing yards in a state championship game for high-school team De Smet Jesuit.
There was also an honourable mention as a Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association pick, while at Central Missouri.
He racked up over 4000 passing yards while in the US college system, and has aims to be an elite high-school coach when he arrives back in the States, with a degree in education and a masters in administration.
But Corwin arrived at Brisbane with one simple motive.
"What I told all the French people over there, and the guys over here, is that I didn't come this far to lose," he told APN.
"Coming here I knew people play down here because they love the game.
"You don't get paid and you're doing this in your free time.
"That's a cool experience because back home, everybody loves football don't get me wrong.
"But you're playing to get to the next level, because it pays for your schooling, so it's a whole different mindset."
Corwin's former university team has produced a bunch of men who are now plying their trade in the NFL, including tight end Delanie Walker, who played for San Francisco in the 2013 Super Bowl.
And Corwin tries to model his game on one of the best quarterbacks going around at the moment - New Orleans Saints star, and Super Bowl champion and MVP, Drew Brees.
"I'm a short quarterback, and so is Drew Brees," Corwin said.
"He's won a Superbowl and he's one of the best in the league.
"He's just the most accurate quarterback - he never misses, and he's little - he's the same size as me.
"I'm six feet and 200 pounds (90kg) - that's not very big.
"For him to be able to do what he does at that size is pretty incredible."
Corwin will assist Wildcats head coach Adam Campbell with his team's offence this season and, like his time playing in France, knows how to have a good time.
"Trying all the different foods like escargot (cooked snails) was interesting," Corwin said.
"French people love to trash talk - same as anywhere else. So they'd talk to me and I'd just stare back at them and say 'I have no idea what you're talking about', and just smile.
"It (gridiron in France) got pretty big. In the national championship game we played in a rain storm, but there were still four or five thousand people there."
Campbell is hoping his shrewd recruitment of Corwin - who he first started speaking to a year ago - will continue to increase the skill level of gridiron in Queensland.
"When I was in New Zealand we imported players there, which was how I got to meet Joe (Stanford University offensive assistant Joe Ashfield, with the two remaining friends)," Campbell said.
"And within the space of four years the level of play within New Zealand grew significantly.
"That's my hope now, with the league adopting a broader approach to the utilisation of imports, that the level of play across the league will increase.
"That's ultimately what you want, because we currently play at a good high-school/small college level.
"But some of the players here are capable of playing at a much higher level."