AS tough as they come, 22-year-old Sam Woodall is letting his body enjoy a break from the weekly bruising it usually receives.
A ball magnet for Dartmoor, Woodall is renowned for his ability to win the hard ball and despite his small stature, he is one of the toughest players in the South West District Football Netball League.
A keen footballer, it isn’t the most brutal sport that he participates in as Woodall follows the family name and is one of the region’s most promising young bull riders.
Due to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, a usually busy schedule with footy training, rodeo training and travel, is a lot less hectic and comes as a welcome break for the Heywood local.
Using the break to reset and refocus on his ultimate goal, Woodall may never step foot on a football field again as plans to move his attention focused to the rodeo arena.
“To be honest I would say the virus has been a turning point for me,” Woodall told The Spectator.
“I decided to use all of my extra time for my own personal development, both mentally and physically.
“It's been really helpful to put everything into perspective as in figuring out what goals I have and really want to achieve and working hard to give myself the best chance in doing so.”
The plan for 2020 was for the 22-year-old to stay at home and play football while attending professional bull riding events (PBR), but that won't be the case.
As he shift his focus, it could mean a long stint away from the Dartmoor football ground.
“The plan this year was to stay home and play footy on Saturdays, while if the body was good enough, I'd jump on the practice bulls on Sundays,” he said.
“On the weekends of the bigger rodeos and PBRs I’d miss a game of footy and fly up north to the events.”
Modest about his future hopes, all Woodall asks of himself is that he becomes the best rider he can, and he is working hard to do so.
During training he looks for the best bull to jump on, always looking for a challenge.
“I like to get on the best bulls on offer when training as I want to push myself to the next level where I can consistently ride the better bulls and I believe the only way to do so is by getting on the best,” Woodall said.
“I'm lucky to be able to train as often as I'd like at my parents place or at my pops.
“I've got a heap of different goals, big and little that I am striving for, but mainly I just want to be the best that I can't be and that's all I can really ask for.
“I'm planning on going over to America and Canada next year, but that really just depends on the virus so I will work with what I can.”
Preparing for what would have been his last season of football for some time, Woodall is now disappointed that both he and his teammates were unable to pull the jersey on this season.
While his body is enjoying a pain-free Sunday morning, he is missing the action on a Saturday afternoon.
“I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss it, although my body feels a lot better that's for sure,” he said.
“It’s really disappointing to not be out there this year as it was going to be my last season there before I went full-time bull riding, so I was a bit disappointed in not getting another run.
“Seeing the extra effort the boys put into this season, it was probably the fittest and keenest I’ve seen the team since I’ve been there, and the way we were all improving as a side made it seem like we could’ve had a great season in both grades.”
While the break has been nice, Woodall is truly ready to return to the arena in front of a packed a crowd.
“I can’t wait to be back at it in front of a crowd,” he said.
“It’s always a better atmosphere when you’ve got a big crowd there watching, it makes you try a little harder too.
“I’ve enjoyed having a break from travelling every weekend but I’m more than ready to start doing it again.”