Werribee grand final star Shaun Mannagh has finally realised his AFL dream after being overlooked in eight drafts.
After consistent form with Werribee the past few years, Mannagh put himself on the radar of AFL clubs this year.
A six-goal best on ground performance in a losing Victorian Football League grand final, made sure clubs that weren’t looking, were now.
Mannagh was the first VFL player selected in the draft, taken by the Cats early on night two of the draft at pick 26.
Mannagh said he feels like a little kid, who has just started Auskick, having finally achieved his dream.
He said draft night was low key, with a delay in the broadcast making it more interesting.
“I was just at home with my wife, brother in law, best mate and my mum and then had the family on a zoom,” he said.
“It was a bit interesting, they ended up finding out before us because we had a bit of a delay on the tv.
“It was really exciting and great to have everyone there and see the emotion on their faces as well.
“My family is pretty exorbitant when it comes to that side of stuff. They are really good, we made sure it was correct and to hear for ourselves.”
Mannagh said he had spoken to Geelong in the lead up to the draft, with the club keen on him for a while.
He said that his grand final performance had made the club scared that someone else would pick him up.
“[I] only met [Stephen] Wells and Andrew [Mackie] a couple of weeks ago, but they did allude to the fact that they were interested then,” he said.
“Obviously after the grand final there was a little bit more interest,[and they were a] little bit disappointed in that, selfishly from a Geelong point of view.
“But I’m happy for the year gone, nice to have that interest and good to be here.”
Mannagh, whose mum’s side of the family follows Geelong, said he would be trying to push for a spot come round and was happy to play whatever role he was given.
“[There’s] 44-50 blokes all vying for the same spot, I’ve got as much chance as anyone else, like to think i would give my best shot, same chance as all the other draftees and everyone else who is already here, show everyone what i can do.”
Outgoing Werribee football manager Mark Micallef said the club was delighted for Mannagh.
“After nominating for eight drafts we’re absolutely thrilled to see Shaun get his shot on an AFL-list,” he said.
“Geelong had shown some interest during the year and not just after his grand final performance, so it was great to see them select him and we all hope this is the start of a really successful AFL career.”