Boom Wodonga recruit Angus Baker still has AFL ambitions, but stopped short of moving to Adelaide.
Baker was edged out by Alec Waterman for a spot on Essendon's list in March.
"It was between Alec and I and at the end of our exit interviews they said they couldn't split us," he revealed.
"Alex was supposed to go back to WA, but I think his flight got cancelled due to COVID and he ended up playing in a pre-season game and kicked four goals and then it was done."
Twenty-three-year-old Baker has remained in contact with the Bombers.
"It was looking pretty close for the mid-season draft, but it didn't work out, so I had work back in Canberra and I decided to head back there and play for the Giants in the VFL," he said.
"I still want to play AFL, but from what they were saying I would have to go over to Adelaide and play in the SANFL, but I just wasn't ready to do that, just the stage of my life where I am at the moment, I'm pretty settled here in Canberra and like living here."
I still want to play AFL, but .. I'm pretty settled here in Canberra and like living here.- Angus Baker on playing the highest level
Baker has recently completed an economics and commerce degree at the The Australian National University and is working in commercial real estate in the ACT.
He and fellow Bulldogs' recruit Alex Smout will travel, but Baker will work on areas the Bombers highlighted.
"The biggest feedback for me was when I'm in full flight, just having a bit more composure with my kicking," he said candidly.
"They like that I can play so many roles and I can obviously work on a few other things, like my (game) craft, it was a pretty amazing experience."
The AFL Draft will be held later this month, so given Baker was just pipped for a rookie spot, clubs know his his talents.
However, the 191cm utility is excited by the prospect of leaving the ACT league and joining a 'heartland' area in the O and M.
"No doubt, I've heard so much about it," he enthused.
"I've grown up playing (representative) football with guys that grew up in Albury-Wodonga, they always said how good it is and what a following they have."
Baker came through the elite junior system with Albury's Fletcher Carroll, while he played against a handful of the league's players at NEAFL level.
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"I know (Wodonga coach) Jordan Taylor quite well, so it was a bit of a no-brainer, I just wanted a change from Canberra footy."
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