NT Thunder Football Club is ecstatic to announce Nathaniel Paredes has signed on to play for the club for the next two years.
Paredes is unreservedly one of the most exciting players to have graced the NTFL in the past three seasons, after being picked up by the St Mary’s Football Club.
He already has one NTFL Men’s Premier League premiership to his name and two Saints best and fairest medals and has again been one of the most influential players in the NTFL this past season.
Following an on-field injury in Round 16 of the NTFL Paredes was subsequently ruled out of the remainder of the Saints’ season with a broken fibula, an injury that is expected to sideline him for the start of the 2019 NEAFL season.
The NT Thunder club doctors from Territory Sportsmedicine are currently working through a return to play timeline for the star recruit.
Born in Melbourne to parents of Chilean and Cuban descent, Paredes grew up playing soccer and didn’t switch to Australian football until he was 16-years-old.
Now 24-years-old, he joins Thunder with experience playing for Casey Demons in the VFL and is making the move from his home club, Warragul.
Coming from a tight-knit family, Paredes is in his final year of a teaching degree at Monash University, based in Melbourne.
NT Thunder Manager Andrew Hodges said the club had been able to facilitate an arrangement that would see Paredes in Darwin for the majority of the 2019 NEAFL season.
“It’s outstanding to attract such a quality person and footballer to our program.
“Nate is currently completing his final year of uni, and in the first part of the season, we will see him working on recovering from his broken leg and preparing to play from his home in Victoria.
“He has two teaching placements to complete in 2019, so he will relocate to the Territory for both of those blocks.
“We are working towards his placement potentially being on the Tiwi Islands, which will be fantastic news for our Tiwi-based players to have an extra teammate working with them.
“At the completion of his 2019 studies, Nate will relocate to the NT on a permanent basis, and so we’re glad to have secured his services for multiple seasons,” Hodges said.
NT Thunder Head Coach Darren Reeves said that it wasn’t the first time he had tried to sign Paredes.
“It’s an excellent result for our program to have Nate commit for 2019 and beyond.
“He is someone I had endeavoured to attract to the SANFL over the last few years, having seen the impact he was having in the NTFL. He is also of outstanding character, has a desire to keep improving his game, and we are excited to see him get the opportunity to test himself at NEAFL level this year.
“He has been one of the elite players in the NTFL for a couple of years and what has impressed me the most is his ability to win the ball in the contest and then often be the first midfielder to be at the next contest. Add that with his ability to hit the scoreboard, and he is a great fit for our Thunder midfield to take on the best in the competition.
“We are looking forward to him rehabbing his leg and excited to get him up and running soon,” Reeves said.
Paredes said the time was right for him to make the move to NT Thunder.
“I’m really excited to sign with the club, it’s something I’ve thought about for a couple of years but living in Melbourne made it too hard, so I’m happy to have sorted something out.
“We’re working through what this year will look like with my study placements and footy, but hopefully I can spend a bit of time up here and have some opportunities teaching in Tiwi.
“I’m looking forward to going to the next level of footy, and I’m keen to play with some guys that I usually play against, and that I have a lot of respect for,” he said.