Rebels’ major draft hopes profiled

JACOB HOPPER

Jacob Hopper

Jacob Hopper

BORN: Feburary 6, 1997

HOMETOWN: Leeton

HOME CLUB: Leeton-Whitton Crows

SCHOOL: St Francis de Sales Regional College (Leeton), St Patrick's College

SUPPORTS IN THE AFL: I grew up a diehard North Melbourne supporter. Dad's a mad North supporter, so he pretty much brainwashed us I think.

REBELS CAREER: 18 TAC Cup games (12 in 2015)

WHERE WILL YOU BE WATCHING THE AFL DRAFT?

The family and I will be going over to Adelaide.

HAVE YOU BEEN THINKING MUCH ABOUT THE DRAFT?

It's been on my mind a bit throughout the year. Now it's here and it's exciting for everyone that's been involved in the journey.

HAVE CLUBS MADE MUCH CONTACT WITH YOU AFTER THE AFL COMBINE?

There's been pretty regular contact I suppose. It's been mostly just touching base, nothing too elaborate with the interview process but I guess that's just how it is. 

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE PROSPECT OF MOVING TO AN INTERSTATE CLUB?

Sydney is six hours away, so it's still a fair way from home even though it's in my home state. I knew that if I wanted to do it (play AFL), I would be living pretty far from home regardless. 

WHAT DOES YOUR FAMILY THINK ABOUT THE CHANCE OF YOU MOVING INTERSTATE?

Regardless of what club I end up at, they know that I'm going to be pretty far from home. I've always wanted to play footy and they just want me to be able to do that, wherever that may be.

WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AS A PLAYER?

I'm more of a contested midfielder, so I like to win the hunt on the inside and then use the ball well on the outside. I also don't mind going forward to try and kick a few goals.

WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AS A PERSON? 

I just like to be as professional as I can be and I like to assert myself as a leader in any group that I'm in. They're the two main qualities that I think are pretty important to success. 

PREFERRED POSITION?

Midfield is my preferred position, but at the elite level you need to be versatile in where you play, so I don't mind going forward and trying to kick a few.

REBELS TALENT MANAGER PHIL PARTINGTON SAYS:

"The ultimate professional. He knows where he wants to get to with his footy and he's worked extremely hard. He's an inside midfielder who can go forward and kick goals for you, so he's a unique type of player - a bit of a cross between Joel Selwood and Dustin Martin."

DARCY TUCKER

Darcy Tucker

Darcy Tucker

BORN: January 23, 1997

HOMETOWN: Horsham

HOME CLUB: Horsham Saints

SCHOOL: St Brigid's College (Horsham)/Ballarat Clarendon College

SUPPORTS: Growing up, I was a diehard St. Kilda supporter. The last few years, though, I've just liked watching any team play.

REBELS CAREER: 18 TAC Cup games (12 in 2015)

WHERE WILL YOU BE WATCHING THE AFL DRAFT?

I'll be watching at home in Horsham, just with the family and maybe some friends. I'm probably one of those kids that doesn't try to make it a big thing, but for the town and for the footy club it's pretty big.

HAVE YOU BEEN THINKING MUCH ABOUT THE DRAFT?

I try not to think about it, but it's always at the back of your head. Every person you run into, they ask you about how your footy is going and what's happening with the draft, so it's hard to push it away.

HAVE CLUBS MADE MUCH CONTACT WITH YOU AFTER THE AFL COMBINE? 

I had a couple of interviews straight after the combine, but since then I haven't heard anything, which just adds to the suspense. So I'm very unsure about what's going to happen on Tuesday night.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE PROSPECT OF MOVING TO AN INTERSTATE CLUB?

Personally I would prefer to be in Victoria, but you don't get the luxury of choosing. Moving interstate wouldn't fuss me too much. I'm happy to get the opportunity anywhere.

WHAT DOES YOUR FAMILY THINK ABOUT THE CHANCE OF YOU MOVING INTERSTATE? 

They're pretty much on the same page as me. They'd be happy for me to an opportunity anywhere, but would prefer for me to be in Victoria.

WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AS A PLAYER?

My run-and-carry off half back and my ability to read the play and take some grass if it's there. I try to use my composure and poise in tight, so I can work my way through traffic and make the right decisions.

WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AS A PERSON?

I see my off-field ability and professionalism as strengths. I try to be respectful to absolutely everyone.

PREFERRED POSITION?

I'm probably best on a half back flank, but I'd like to move into the midfield. I played all my junior footy midfield and forward and never played backline in my life, up until a year and a half ago.

REBELS TALENT MANAGER PHIL PARTINGTON SAYS:

"We've been very happy with Darcy's season. His leadership around the club has been outstanding. Darcy's worked as my trainee this year and I've seen how much passion he has for footy and where he wants to get to. Darcy doesn't leave any stone unturned - his preparation, his rehab, his diet; it's been second to none."

DANIEL RIOLI

Daniel Rioli (right)

Daniel Rioli (right)

BORN: April 16, 1997

HOMETOWN: Tiwi Islands

HOME CLUB: St. Mary's

SCHOOL: Tiwi College

SUPPORTS: Essendon

REBELS CAREER: 9 TAC Cup games

WHERE WILL YOU BE WATCHING THE AFL DRAFT?

I got invited to the draft, so I'll be going to Adelaide with mum and dad.

HAVE YOU BEEN THINKING MUCH ABOUT THE DRAFT?

Nah, I actually haven't. I've tried to clear the head, catch up family and do some fishing. Friends and especially family have asked about it though.

HAVE CLUBS MADE MUCH CONTACT WITH YOU AFTER THE AFL COMBINE?

I had a few interviews before the combine, but after it more clubs have been interested. A few clubs have come up to the Tiwi Islands and interviewed me at home with mum and dad.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE PROSPECT OF MOVING TO AN INTERSTATE CLUB?

I moved from home to Ballarat when I was about 14 years old, so I've had four years in Ballarat, which has really helped me out. Wherever I go, I'll be happy and make the most of it.

WHAT DOES YOUR FAMILY THINK ABOUT THE CHANCE OF YOU MOVING INTERSTATE?

They're fine with it. I've always wanted to live the dream and they'll be happy with wherever I go. I know they're just a phone call away.

WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AS A PLAYER?

My strengths are tackling, running and kicking goals. And I like to use my speed.

WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AS A PERSON?

I try to be as professional as I can. Leading up to the combine, I think I showed that.

PREFERRED POSITION?

On the wing. At the Rebels I played mostly forward, but at the Championships (for Northern Territory) and in the Allies game (against the AFL Academy) I played more up the ground and played better football. 

REBELS TALENT MANAGER PHIL PARTINGTON SAYS:

"Dan's got himself to a really elite level of fitness, which is a testament to his hard work. He's become more confident in his own ability and that's probably what AFL clubs are seeing now. They can see the potential, so I wouldn't be surprised if a club banked Dan pretty early in the draft."