Zach Tuohy, the boy from Port Laois originally drafted to the club as an international rookie, is now seeking Australian citizenship as he prepares for his fourth season as a Carlton footballer.
With the Irishman’s existing two-year contract expiring by season’s end, and with it his current two-year visa, Tuohy is now in the throes of completing the paperwork in his bid to secure both Australian and Irish citizen status.
“In the early days I always planned on going home (to Ireland), but the longer I stayed here the more and more I liked it,” Tuohy said this week.
“I still may go home, but instead of being in the position where it’s pre-determined by having a visa I’d rather look for citizenship and give myself the option that if I wanted to stay here at the end of it I could.”
Asked to explain why he had now resolved to pursue citizenship, Tuohy said it was because he felt so comfortable in the new country and the new city.
“It’s always been about the place - absolutely the place,” Tuohy said. “I’ve always loved being here and the longer you stay in any one place the more settled you get, the more friends you make and the more you like the lifestyle.
“Going home last off-season made me realize how willing I’d be to stay here, as much as I love home and would go home every year regardless.”
Tuohy now has a girlfriend Rebecca Price (whom he met through Levi Casboult’s sister) and has recently acquired a Siberian husky Ollie, meaning the bonds with the new country have clearly strengthened.
Very much his own man, Tuohy arrived at his decision without any consultation. As he said, “I always said to my mother (Marie) that I’d stay, but that was only to torment her, and I haven’t really consulted anyone else”.
Regardless, both his mother and father Noel (an unabashed sports nut) are enamored with the Australian way of life and as Tuohy reminds, a clan reunion is but a 24-hour flight trip away.
Originally taken by Carlton as an International rookie with selection 73 in 2010, Tuohy, at 23, is now 30 senior matches into his senior career as an AFL footballer.
Seems so long ago since he completed his maiden flight to Australia having made the ill-fated decision to travel lightly.
“The first time I came to Australia, I don’t know when it was but it was towards the back end of the season, the very first game I ever saw was a reserves game up at Ballarat,” Tuohy said.
“I’d packed nothing but t-shirts and shorts because I figured ‘I’m going to Australia, it’s going to be hot’ and the wind at Ballarat just sliced me up.”
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