MICHAEL Close couldn't believe it when he got a text from Brisbane Lions captain Jonathan Brown congratulating him on being chosen by the club in this month's national draft.
Close, who grew up in the tiny western Victorian town of Harrow, didn't have a favourite team or player when he was growing up.
But if there was one player the 18-year-old wanted to emulate, it would be Brown.
While the youngster has a big frame, he admitted it would take some time for him to grow into it.
That means a chance to line up alongside the skipper may not eventuate in 2013.
"I haven't got the muscle yet - I'm still what they call a project player," Close said.
"I just want to learn as much as I can and feed off big Jonno Brown. It's pretty surreal having him as a teammate."
While Close grew up in Harrow, he boarded at Monivae College in Hamilton from year nine, before shifting to St Pat's in Ballarat to complete his secondary schooling and be part of the North Ballarat Rebels program in the TAC Cup.
He wasn't the only player to shine in that environment, with good mate Tanner Smith drafted by Fremantle and Martin Gleeson selected by Essendon.
Teammates Jake Neade (Port Adelaide) and Dominic Barry (Melbourne) were also selected on senior AFL lists prior to the draft, Close saying he wouldn't be surprised if more Rebels players were picked up in next month's rookie draft.
The team finished minor premiers in the TAC Cup but was beaten by Oakleigh by 83 points in the preliminary final.
Close said he was still pinching himself being part of the Lions set-up, although the first week for the three draftees has just been about meeting the players and coaches and watching how the senior players prepare and train.
"It's just unreal being here ... I can't believe it," he said.
"Monday we just watched the players train, Tuesday we did a couple of sessions and then had an ice bath, and Wednesday was a day off.
"We won't do the workloads the players do for a while just to avoid injuries."
Close is staying with established player Aaron Cornelius, but next week will move into a house with Sam Mayes and Marco Paparone who were also picked up in the draft.
The trio can expect a visit from Lions player welfare manager Manny Lynch - brother of Lions triple premiership player Alistair - who Close said would "explain the rules and teach us how to cook".
Close has big shoes to fill - he knows he was drafted as a potential replacement for Brown, saying, "He's certainly one of the players I'd like to model my game on".
If he turns out half as good as his skipper, everyone in Harrow will be thrilled.
* Land area: 607m2* (tenanted area: 183 m2*) * Current holding income of $51,600*p.a. plus a portion of outgoings * Zoning: Character mixed use * Corner location...
With the market moving and homes selling quickly this quality low set brick home in Raceview is one for the buyers whether you are first home buyers, investors or...
This stylish 4 year old ex display home is too good to resist. Sitting on a 937sqm block with plenty of room for a shed, pool or granny flat. Easy access into...
Value plus with this lovely family friendly home, beautifully presented and ready for the next family to enjoy. You will definitely appreciate all the hard work...
Great opportunity to build your own home and get exactly what you really want in a property! Offering that feel of living in the country, but so close to amenities...
LOT 709 PINE MOUNTAIN QUARRY ROAD PINE MOUNTAIN . $349,000 HOP SKIP JUMP INTO THE CITY WHILE BEING IN THE BUSH! Under 6 kms to West Moreton Anglican...
What a terrific opportunity to live the country lifestyle and build your own home on this clear, vacant farm land, with a view to Mt Flinders. This is a great...
On the doorstep of the beautiful Scenic Rim, on the Cunningham highway only 35mins from Ipswich is the quiet little suburb of Warrill View. This block is an...
- 706M2 - Fully fenced - Fully landscaped - 1 x Carport - 1 x Caravan Port - 1 x 14,000 litre tank - 1 x 5,000 litre tank
Don't miss this opportunity to be part of the approved Ripley Master Planned Area. This 18.51ha or 45 acre block of future urban land in South Ripley is a short...
Join the Community.
Get your local news, your way.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.