From RoboCop to Boomers’ backline, Dustin Patten is back

HE has worked with Kiefer Sutherland and Australian star of the Twilight series Emily Browning, but it’s Dustin Patten’s role in the middle of defence at Boomers that has won the critics’ plaudits.

The central defender has returned to the Border and soccer after four years of travelling and this weekend faces an acid test against reigning league and cup champions Wodonga Diamonds.

It was a 25-country sojourn that included landing a gig on movie sets on films like RoboCop and Pompeii.

Patten’s adventure began after Boomers’ grand final win in 2009.

This year he is back at the club, working in tandem with Ryan McKissack, his partner in crime from that cup conquest.

“I came back home just before Christmas and pretty much started pre-season training straight away,” Patten said.

“I’d left straight after that grand final, spent some time on the Gold Coast and then 2½ years travelling through North and South America, as well as Europe.

“The highlight was the movie job in Toronto — I just had to pick up odd jobs where I could and went for that with no experience and landed it over 160 others.

“I think they just liked the Australian personality.

“We worked on the sets and in the background but it was pretty good.”

Patten said while pre-season conditioning was tough, it was the touch that he struggled with the most.

“The pre-season was pretty tough after four years away, it took six to eight weeks to feel OK after each session, but it was the touch that I struggled with initially,” he said.

“But now I’m feeling pretty comfortable back there.”

Patten said the league had improved dramatically in the past four years.

“The teams at the top are stronger all over the field,” he said.

“When I left even the best sides had weaknesses but now each team is the complete package on the field.

“We know this is our toughest stretch now — we lost earlier in the year to United, they were physically too strong and we weren’t ready for them — but we are looking at the next three games as setting up the platform for the rest of our season.”

Patten said coach Andrew Grove had a focus on their defensive structure.

“Grove wants to start from the back and largely base our structure off that back four,” he said.

“It is certainly his own style based on a lot of homework from here and overseas and it is very effective against the better teams, but against the weaker sides that are less structured we can sometimes be undone.”