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By Peter Argent

Having to travel up to four hours by bus to play football as a kid, Ben Mabon understands the work ethic required to be the best he can be.
He also has extra motivation, as his Uncle Andrew, who broke his neck in a rugby league match has been a strong mentor.
“I’ve always looked up to Uncle Andrew,” Mabon explained.
“Considering what he’s been through and the issue’s he has dealt with, he’s always been a positive influence.
“There is still a desire (for me) to play at the top level and a part of the reason I’ve come across to Central District, is to take me out of my comfort zone.
“Firstly I want to play good football for Centrals, grabbing this opportunity with both hands.”
Mabon is originally from the Hay Lions in the Golden Rivers Football League and comes from a sporting family, where his father Vince captain the NSW state country cricket side and brothers Tom and Neil are also elite country cricketers.
“When I was a lad the closest game was against the Moulamein Swans and that was an hour and a half up the road,” Mabon said.
“When we played Nullawil it was a four hour trip and a 5am start.”
“In Hay they played every football code – and there was a lot of competition between them.
“I went to Ballarat for year 11 and 12 schooling, playing in the football program at Clarendon College, where we won the Herald Cup in both 2009 and 2010.
“I also played under Nick Stevens (current Glenelg senior coach) for the NSW ACT Rams in that second year.
“I found Nick to be a good coach, who gave strong feedback.”
He also played with the Ballarat Rebels in the TAC under 18s competition, before being drafted to North Melbourne.
Now weighing 93 kgs and being 199cm tall, Mabon was just 78 kgs when he was first drafted to the Kangaroos.
“My favourite player was Hamish McIntosh,” Mabon continued.
“Back then during training drills, especially in ruck contests he’d throw me around like a rag doll.
“When I was delisted, senior coach Brad Scott was very supportive and understanding, suggesting I look at playing in a state league competition.
“I knew ex Central District player Nathan Grima as well and he gave the Doggy’s a good rap.”
On the Kangaroos list for three years, Mabon missed most of 2011 with a lower back complaint, but played two full seasons with the North Ballarat Roosters in the VFL.
Bulldogs senior coach Roy Laird explained the Mabon has some difficultly through the pre-season, but is back on track at the minute.
“Ben has worked hard to get back to the required fitness,” Laird confirmed.
“He has fitted in well to our program and we believe he will develop into a valuable asset for the club.
“From a football perspective he has a football brain and a solid skill set.”
For Mabon coming to SA was a big move, shifting away from what he knew, but he intends to enjoy his football and make a strong contribution at Central District. 

'Big' Ben Mabon celebrating after a great pack mark and goal against the Eagles in Round 1
Mabon gathering possession against the Crows State League Team last Saturday
Picture Peter Argent PLA Media/The Barracker         phatsnaps.photshelter.com

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