STILL only 20, but with five seasons of senior experience in the Bendigo league under his belt, Castlemaine’s Kalan Huntly is ready to have a crack at VFL level with Essendon.
Huntly will train with the Bombers during the pre-season in the hope of making the club’s VFL list in 2018.
“Basically at this stage it will be training with them through the pre-season up until March and then the list will be cut from there,” Huntly said.
“I suppose having started (playing seniors) when I was 16 has been a bit of a gift in that it has put me a couple of years ahead of where some other players the same age might be.
“It has certainly helped with my development.”
Despite still being so young, Huntly’s reputation has soared over the past two years, as shown by his selection in the BFNL’s 2016 and 2017 inter-league teams.
He won the Magpies’ best and fairest this year in a canter, polling 145 votes – 88 clear of his nearest rival Jarryd Graham (57).
His consistent season through the midfield prompted Castlemaine coach Derrick Filo to label Huntly among the top six players in the competition.
“I genuinely think Kal is in the best six players in the competition,’’ Filo said of Huntly last month.
“It doesn’t show out when you’re in a team that doesn’t win many games, but he is comfortably in the best six players.
“I can’t remember him playing too many bad games this year. He’s only 20 years old, so there’s plenty of improvement to come as well.”
Huntly won’t begin pre-season with the Bombers until late November.
“I was torn a bit on whether to leave Castlemaine because I have a lot of good mates and everyone puts in a lot of work, but at the same time I’ve got to try to move forward and at the age I am, now is probably the right time,” Huntly said.
Dan Jordan has been recently appointed Essendon’s new VFL coach.
Essendon this year bowed out of the VFL in the first week when beaten by Footscray by five points in their elimination final.
Stand-alone club Port Melbourne won the 2017 flag.