Werribee’s Sam Clohesy has had to do it the hard way but he has finally achieved his AFL dream.
He was one of three Werribee locals to land at an AFL club last week.
Clohesy was the last to go of the trio, joining Logan Morris (pick 31 to Brisbane) and Shaun Mannagh (pick 36 to Geelong) in the big-time on Wednesday afternoon.
The former Calder Cannon was picked up by Gold Coast with pick four of the rookie draft.
Speaking just hours after being picked up by the Suns, Clohsey said it was a dream come true.
“I’m pretty stoked at the moment, it hasn’t really sunk in yet the fact that I’m on an AFL list,” he said.
“I got a call from my manager late last (Tuesday) night, saying that it was a likely chance to happen but I was still nervous going into today, because it’s not real until it actually happens.”
While Clohsey’s journey into the AFL hasn’t been conventional, playing football at more than a dozen clubs he said he wouldn’t have had it any other way.
“It’s been good, it’s really helped my footy a lot,” he said.
“It’s made me mature as a player and really reform my game into one that’s good enough to make a list and it’s the reason why I’ve been able to make it now.”
The 20-year-old rebounding half-back won the Fothergill-Round-Mitchell Medal in 2023 as the best young talent in the Victorian Football League, and joins a long list of that medal’s recipients to reach the AFL, with only one winner not breaking into the league since 2005.
He was also one of Werribee’s best in the grand final against the Suns, where he recorded 22 disposals and seven marks.
“All I really wanted to do was earn my spot and play as many games as possible and then about halfway through the year I started realising that I could do a bit more,” he said.
“To cap it off with the Fothergill-Round-Mitchell Medal was very nice and to reap the rewards now is very cool.”
He is also following a similar trajectory to his former Werribee coach Mick Barlow. Like Clohesy, Barlow won the Fothergill-Round-Mitchell Medal while playing at Werribee, he was then picked up in the rookie draft, and later ended up at the Suns.
“He’s been huge for me over the past two years, he’s developed my football, really helped me out and I owe him a lot,” Clohesy said.
“He’s a big reason why I’ve been able to get here.”
Clohesy is a former Suns academy player who played in the talent program from the ages of 14 to 16 before relocating back to Melbourne with his family. Being a former Queenslander, he said he is eager to head back north.
“I absolutely love the lifestyle, the Gold Coast is one of my favourite places on earth,” he said.
“I spent three years in the academy up there and loved every second of it, I can’t wait to get back up and see it all again.”
Clohesy is the older brother of Geelong midfielder Ted Clohesy, although Ted is the younger sibling Sam said he has been instrumental in helping him reach this point.
“I’ve been able to learn a lot from him and how professional he is and what an AFL player has to go through,” he said.
“We’ve been able to bounce our feelings off each other and he’s really helped me through this year and the last couple of weeks.”
Clohesy adds to the young exciting list at the Suns, who were able to welcome four first-round picks to their list, all coming from their academy program.
“Those boys that got picked up on Monday night look like absolute stars, and I can’t wait to get to work with them and see how far we can go,” he said.