Albury's Phoenix Gothard says he's taken inspiration from two former club-mates and current AFL-listed players, ahead of the Draft.
The 18-year-old is ranked in the leading small forwards, behind top five contender Nick Watson.
"I took inspiration from Dan Turner and Paddy Parnell that came through Albury and got drafted," he said.
The pair was overlooked for the 2020 Draft, but the pacy Parnell was selected by Adelaide at pick No. 4 in the mid-season rookie draft in 2021, while Melbourne selected defender Turner at No. 24.
Gothard is 179cms and 72kgs, impressing with his all-round game of not only kicking goals, but applying relentless pressure.
"It's definitely something I've worked on coming into the more senior side of football, especially this year my defensive pressure as a small forward is something that I value highly and speaking to a lot of the clubs they value it in the AFL," he remarked.
"Those one percenters, like defensive pressure, from a small forward is something that's super critical in today's game."
Like Parnell, Gothard was also an outstanding junior cricketer, but he too elected to focus on football.
"I played it relatively late, up until around a year and a half ago, but then started playing some good footy and got a chance with Albury's seniors," the 18-year-old said.
However, he announced himself for the competition-winning Allies at the AFL National Championships.
"Nick Watson is the top ranked small forward, but he and Phoenix Gothard are not unlike, they're both very hard to hem in," AFL Talent Ambassador Kevin Sheehan offered.
"They have that ability to turn an opponent inside out and enough speed to get away, if the tackler reaches to grab the jumper, it's just a sidestep or a flick of the hips and they're away.
"He (Gothard) was a livewire for the Allies and he was the one that bobbed right up (in the eyes of AFL recruiters) and that can happen with players in their 18th year, it might happen with about 30 per cent of the kids who show up in their 18th year, they start to come on."
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Gothard has been tipped to be selected around No. 40 and while he's lightly built, he's mature mentally after taking a philosophical approach to missing selection for Albury in the Ovens and Murray Football League grand final against Yarrawonga.
"I set a goal at the start of the year to play for Albury and hopefully win a premiership, but Albury at that time was in a great space, so I was quite accepting of it and I wasn't too fazed, I took it as an opportunity to have more (AFL Draft) Combine preparation."
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