Wangaratta Rovers' VFL-listed player Nathan Cooper has landed a shock invitation to contest Richmond AFL club's intraclub match on Thursday morning.
Cooper only joined the Tigers' VFL outfit in December, so it's a meteoric rise to be elevated into the premiers' set-up.
"It's fantastic, to be one of only six VFL players to be invited up, it's enormous," Rovers' coach Daryn Cresswell said.
The 195cm defender was told by Tigers' VFL coach Xavier Clarke and operations manager Anthony Fagan.
"Coming down here that was something in the back of my mind that I wanted to be a part of, but it still surprised me, I wasn't expecting it," he said.
Unlike a number of players who shy away from joining an AFL-aligned club, the 22-year-old elected to take the punt.
Coming down here that was something in the back of my mind that I wanted to be a part of, but it still surprised.Nathan Cooper
He felt it could fast-track his development, working with a full-time defensive coach after just three years as a backman.
The first two years he was under playing coaches at Sydney Uni, which limited how much time they could spend with him, while he travelled last year.
"There's been a lot of team defence, systems and structures, offensively and defensively and I'm on a steep learning curve with one-on-one body work and positioning, which I hadn't had as much experience with," he said.
Cooper finished runner-up to veteran Sam Carpenter in the Hawks' best and fairest, but his stocks jumped after a super display for Victoria Country against the Victorian Amateurs in July.
Victoria coach Danny Frawley, who then died in early September, declared he could play AFL.
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"I'm extremely happy with my decision to move for footy and I couldn't be happier," he said.
Interestingly, Cooper is still window cleaning, while also studying at university. He's worked on a hair-raising 55-storey building.