Draft night is an interesting and exciting one for people all over the country but it’s one only a handful of wannabe AFL players get to experience.
My memories from this time last year centre around being on the farm in the week leading into the draft. The farm in Collinguille was a great way to escape the hype of the draft and I’d recommend to any of the aspiring youngsters to find a distraction of their own — perhaps not on a farm because that type of work isn’t for everyone.
Finding a distraction is a good way of staying off the internet to see what is or isn’t being written about you on news websites. The ultimate goal is to stop overthinking what may occur on the night.
Flying to the draft with my parents was a great experience. They didn’t say too much to begin with, they were probably more nervous than me, which is understandable given there’s a chance I could’ve ended up at the other end of the country.
But they enjoyed the night too, especially when the result was read out and we found out I was only a one hour-flight away.
I’m a laid-back guy so I wasn’t too nervous waking up on draft day. I was in a room with Will Setterfield and we were trying to do our best to take our minds off everything.
The main piece of advice for any players going through the draft experience is you can’t really do anything to change or influence the result at that point — all the footy has been played and interviews have been completed. It’s best just to embrace whatever happens, relax and have some fun because it’s a great experience to be a part of and one you’ll never forget.
Everyone will be telling you to enjoy it and it’s for a good reason because there really isn’t any other productive way to go about it. It’s an opportunity that you’ll only get to experience once.
The Giants didn’t tell me too much leading into the draft but, at the back of my mind, I had a bit of a feeling they’d select me. I wouldn’t have it any other way now, I love it up here.
One of my favourite moments from the night was finding out where everyone else was taken. The guys who I grew up playing alongside, some of which are my really good mates, were also selected by the Giants and we were all able to share that on the night.
Isaac Cumming, who I live with now, and Will Setterfield are two guys who were also academy players and were there on the night to celebrate the result. That was a special moment.
We knew going into it that we might be a chance to end up at the Giants together, given we were all in the GWS Academy, but at the same time, we tried not to get our hopes up because anything can happen on draft night.
It all unfolds pretty quickly and before I knew it, I was waking up on Saturday morning to head back home, packing my bags and on a flight back to Sydney a little over two days after finding out I was now an AFL player.
You move away from home, your family and friends but you get used to it pretty quickly.
It’s a weird experience and one not too many get. I do miss the farm, but after a while, you form friendships with all of the boys, which helps ease the homesickness.
Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying your footy. For those who miss out, stick to it and your time will come, although that’s easy for me to say, but you only get one crack at making the big time.