Friday night’s AFL National Draft will be a nervous wait for Rebels draftee hopeful Lloyd Meek, but his mind rests easy knowing he put everything he could into earning a spot on an AFL list.
Meek will watch the draft from the comfort of his family farm in Mininera and is none the wiser as to whether he will be drafted or not as he was prior to AFL club interviews. Like many youngsters around the country, he will be hoping to hear his name read out during the course of the National Draft in Sydney.
The young ruckman has improved immensely throughout the 2017 season. He worked at the Greater Western Victoria Rebels as its trainee, moved to Ballarat to dedicate himself to his football and taken on board all advice handed to him over the off-season and implemented it throughout the year.
Told to bring more aggression to the contest as a big man, Meek hit round one of the TAC Cup season in robust fashion, by his own admission perhaps over compensating. But it set the tone for a season of improvement and one that saw him invited to the National Combine and debut at VFL level.
"I'm pretty nervous, as expected,” Meek said.
"For me, I'm still unsure of where I sit with it all, so it's a bit of an unknown.
"But if it happened, it would be amazing.
"I'll just got in with an open mind and be happy to go wherever.
"That's what gives you peace of mind, knowing that even if you don't get drafted there was nothing more I could've done.
"I've done everything to put my best foot forward, I've trained hard throughout the whole year, done all the extras and all the (AFL) clubs know that - I am comfortable knowing how much I have put in.”
Meek recalls the day he walked through the Rebels’ doors as a 16-year-old, he has come a long way since then and gives a lot of the credit to the Rebels staff.
"When I came to the Rebels as a 16-year-old...I was pretty raw, to think of where I've got to now – it's a full credit to the program.
"Parto (Talent Manager Phil Partington), Fitzy (Coach Gerard FitzGerald) and Orren Stephenson the ruck coach, they've all been outstanding for me and I've learnt so much off them. I'd hope if I where to get picked up on draft night they'd feel a massive sense of accomplishment as well, they've helped me hugely along the way - as well as all the staff.”
Last year’s draft was a rich one for the Rebels, this season there is much more unknown surrounding their possible draftees.
Ruckman Lloyd Meek looks the most likely, but that would be with a late selection, while the likes of Callan Wellings, Aiden Domic, Jordan Johnston and Flynn Appleby will all be hoping to hear their names late in the piece.
GWV Rebels talent manager Phil Partington said this year’s draft had a reasonably clear top 40, but after that he expected clubs to select on a needs basis – casting a blanket over many young players.
“The draft is a different beat every year,” Partington said.
“The one thing that sticks out for me with that majority of our players is their character and how hard they’ve worked to this stage of their football career.”
The draft will begin at 7pm.
The National rookie and pre-season drafts will be held on Monday, giving players another chance to get onto an AFL list.