Two famous Aussie footy stars are seen in throwback photos – now one is out-earning everyone in the NRL and the other is forging a career in the media
- Stars unrecognisable in throwback
- Jordan Mailta seen as rugby junior
- Dane Swan at his cheeky best as a kid
A series of unrecognisable throwback photos of two top footy headliners has shown just how much someone’s life can change after starring on a sporting field.
NFL star Jordan Mailata, who starred for Philadelphia in their Super Bowl loss, has come a long way since he rejected a $5000 contract to play part-time for the Rabbitohs in their under 20s side in 2017.
The humble Eagles star is now one of the best offensive tackles in the league despite being drafted in 2018 without playing a single snap of American football, signing an astonishing $88million contract in 2021.
And a throwback photo posted by the NFC champions shows an almost unrecognisable Mailata back in 2015 when he was playing for Sydney junior rugby league side, the Bankstown Bulls.
The now 203cm, 166kg giant was a men amongst boys in the throwback shot, fending off three defenders with one (giant) hand as he carried the ball in the other.
NFL star Jordan Mailata shrugs off three defenders in a rugby league throwback photo posted by the Phildelphia Eagles – the ultimate rags to riches story
After the Rabbitohs wrote him off, Mailata became one of the NFL’s top offensive linemen, and was crucial for the Eagles despite their defeat in the Super Bowl earlier this year
The rags-to-riches story began in the working-class Sydney suburb of Bankstown, before being written off by the Rabbitohs…and culminated in playing in front of 113million American viewers, guarding star quarterback Jalen Hurts’ blindside.
But the second footy star’s throwback photo was in stark contrast to a rampaging Mailata leaving hapless defenders in his dust.
Collingwood cult hero turned media darling Dane Swan looked slightly different as youngster without sporting tattoos all over his body.
The Brownlow Medallist and 2010 premiership player is the son of Victorian footy legend Billy, and despite being a late bloomer, became one of the best Magpies midfielders in recent history.
Magpies legend Dane Swan (left), father Billy (centre, a Victorian footy legend with Williamstown) and sister Bonny in an throwback photo for the ages
Swans is one of Collingwood’s finest midfielders of the last few decades, and won the 2011 Brownlow Medal
And was a member of the infamous Collingwood ‘rat pack’, who became known as much for their off-field exploits and partying as they did success on it.
Not that you’d be able to tell that from the angelic-looking Swan as a child.
Ahead of the Magpies legend’s appearance on Channel 7 show The Front Bar, the now 39-year-old can be seen in some throwback pics rocking some iconic looks from the 80s and 90s.
One shows Swan with sister Bonny and their father Billy, who was wearing his Williamstown jersey, in a heartwarming family photo.
An even younger throwback shows the cheeky jokester, who has always seemed to retain a child-like humour, laughing at the camera dressed very sharply as he does some colouring in.
Swan can be seen in the adorable throwback photos donning a Westmeadows Football Club yellow sash jumper, giving a Tigers a taste of what might have been
Then the Tigers got a taste for what they missed out on in the 2001 AFL draft, where Swan slipped down to Collingwood at pick 58.
Already on the long winding path to footy greatness, Swan is seen wearing a footy jersey in the style of Richmond’s iconic yellow sash.
Unfortunately for the Tigers it was the yellow and black of the Westmeadows Football Club…and the rest is history.