WEST Coast Eagles’ draftee Tommy Cole enjoyed a ski at Echuca on Wednesday before he prepares to fly across the country to begin life as an AFL player.
Cole was selected by the Eagles from the Bendigo Pioneers with pick No. 36 at Tuesday night’s AFL National Draft.
The 18-year-old will leave Bendigo for Perth on Sunday.
While footy is Cole’s No.1 passion, he loves his skiing, and that’s how he spent Wednesday in the wake of Tuesday night’s life-changing moment when his name was called out by the Eagles.
“It’s probably the last time I’ll get to do it for a while, so I thought I had better take the boat out and have a ski, which was good fun,” Cole said.
Enjoying the sun and the Murray River on Wednesday followed a nervous night for Cole and his family at home on Tuesday as the Draft unfolded.
“I thought when Essendon had those two picks (29 and 30) that’s where I might have gone, but once they passed I was getting a bit nervous,” Cole said.
“I just had to wait and luckily it came when it did at 36.”
Soon after his name was called out, Cole’s phone began running hot. Among those to make contact were Eagles’ coach Adam Simpson, captain Shannon Hurn, 2014 Brownlow medallist Matt Priddis – and plenty of his other new Eagles team-mates.
“That was fairly surreal and it hasn’t sunk in yet. I’m sure it will once I get over there and get stuck into it,” said Cole, whose year included being a member of the AFL Academy, helping Victoria Country win the National Under-18 Championships and playing three VFL games for Geelong.
As well as the National Draft on Tuesday night, Cole also had his Catholic College Bendigo graduation dinner at the All Seasons to attend.
Cole moved to Bendigo from Warrnambool as an 11-year-old and played two years of junior football with St Francis of the Fields, where he went to school, before joining Strathfieldsaye, and then crossing to Sandhurst in 2014, which included playing in the Dragons’ Bendigo Football League senior grand final team last year.
He’s now the second member of the 2014 Sandhurst grand final team to be on an AFL list, with Billy Evans at Brisbane.
“I’m really excited. It’s something I’ve been working hard for over the past few years and it’s good it has finally happened,” said Cole, who has been part of the Bendigo Pioneers’ program since under-15s.
“It’s definitely a dream come true.”
Cole’s draft profile lists him as a “classy medium defender/midfielder who is highly skilled with his ball use by either hand or foot. Can play in a range of roles for his team and thrives in contested situations.”