DRAFT: Shocked Mellington heads west

Josh Mellington is thrilled to be heading to Fremantle despite having never been there before.
Josh Mellington is thrilled to be heading to Fremantle despite having never been there before.

FREMANTLE didn’t subscribe to the theory that Josh Mellington was an outside draft chance after selecting the Benalla forward with their third pick last night.

The 17-year-old was the toast of the North East town after the Dockers used pick No. 56 on the 188cm, 76kg star.

Mellington didn’t rate his draft chances highly and was tipped to go to Sydney Swans at pick No. 73 in The Border Mail Phantom Draft.

“It’s a great honour to go anywhere,” the Murray Bushrangers graduate told The Border Mail last night.

“I haven’t been to Perth before.

“I’m speechless at the minute. I don’t think it’s sunk in properly yet.”

Fremantle used its first selection on Geelong Falcons forward Jayden Pitt (No. 20), its second on Oakleigh Chargers forward-midfielder Viv Michie (No. 44) and its third on Mellington.

Former Shepparton United star Michael Barlow was a Dockers’ rookie elevation, as were Matt de Boer, Alex Silvagni and Jay van Berlo.

Mellington was hoping to be picked up by childhood club the Western Bulldogs, but said he was just delighted to find himself in the AFL system.

“I spoke to them (Fremantle) during the year,” he said.

“It was getting into the 50s and I was getting pretty nervous. All my mates and that are here (in Benalla) so it’s awesome and a great honour.

“Me and my mates just looked at each other, we were just stunned.”

Bushrangers region manager Andrew Carson visited Mellington at the family home last night and said he wasn’t surprised the Dockers had jumped on the Benalla College VCE student.

“Freo were one of the clubs who had shown a bit of interest in him,” Carson said, “we thought they would be one of his best chances.

“At the end of the day we’ve got seven blokes on AFL lists and that’s just a fantastic coup for the club.

“There are always surprises. It’s just so hard to pick. We just want to see the boys get an opportunity. I think both boys (Shaun Atley and Mellington) will be extremely happy to be at an AFL club.”