He spent eight seasons inside the Crows nest, but midfielder Cameron Ellis-Yolmen has revealed what it’s like for him in the Lions den and whether he’s made the right move.
There’s one thing Brisbane Lion’s new big-bodied mid-forward Cameron Ellis-Yolmen is sure of: that his decision to leave Adelaide at the end of 2019 was the right one.
If nothing else, it’s allowed him the time and space to put the Crows infamous Gold Coast pre-season camp behind him.
“There’s no bad blood, I’ve moved on, that’s why I’ve come over to Brisbane for a fresh start and everything that happened in Adelaide is all behind me,” he said of the 2018 camp that has plagued Adelaide ever since.
“The camp’s always going to be a thing on everyone’s mind, a question mark … but I’ve moved on and I think everyone else that was a part of it has moved on.
“It’s in the rear view mirror and I’ve totally forgotten about it.”
Last weekend, Ellis-Yolmen proved he’s flourishing in new colours, kicking his first goal in the Lions’ jumper while picking up 12 disposals playing his old side for the first time, as Brisbane went on to beat the Crows convincingly by 37 points.
“People can get hooked up with playing their old team, but I was’t really worried … I’m still good mates with a lot of the boys and obviously there was a little bit of banter on the field, but I was happy to play and get a win,” Ellis-Yolmen said.
Next on the 27-year-old’s radar is facing his former cross-town rival Port Adelaide on Saturday in what will be the must-watch clash of round 5.
“This will be a good challenge for us,” Ellis-Yolmen said.
“We’re pretty close to them on the stats sheet with our contested possessions, so it’s going to be a really good challenge.”
When it comes to stats sheets, according to Champion Data – the AFL’s official stats keeper – Ellis-Yolmen plays solidly when he faces the Power.
In his four AFL career Showdowns (among his 39 games for the Crows in eight injury-interrupted seasons), he averaged 100 Champion Data ranking points, 20.3 disposals, 11.3 contested possessions, 5.3 clearances, 4.3 score involvements and 7.8 tackles.
He is especially keen to play hard, contested football against Port.
“They’ve got some good inside mids, Ollie Wines and Sam Powell-Pepper, I’m happy to play on either,” he said.
“I’m not really worried about who they got, I’m just worried about doing my role for the team … Port play a good contested game of footy and that’s right up my ally, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Adelaide may no longer be his club, but the city will always be home and Ellis-Yolmen managed to fly back to SA just before the state borders shut with the fallout of COVID-19.
He spent eight weeks back home in April and May and during that time he worked diligently on his fitness, which wasn’t at the level needed to crack into the Lions side (he was left out for rounds 1 and 2).
He started a heavy one-on-one boxing regimen and coupled it with borrowing a road bike and hitting Adelaide’s streets with friends.
His fitness improved and when he returned to Brisbane it was with greater mobility, allowing him to break into the team for his first game.
“Leaving the Crows was a tough choice, but I knew it was better for me as a player and person to move away,” he says.
“I’d been at the Crows for eight years and I tried to make it work but I needed, personally, a new fresh start and to come here and have different scenery … I’m happy”.