Lots of boys dream of playing footy for an AFL team but only a few will make it.
In 2007, in their final year of junior football, five boys joined the 1200 who nominated for the draft. They were put through their paces: gruelling physical trials and psychological tests, on top of Year 12 exams and dealing with injuries.
Trent Cotchin and Cyril Rioli are AFL stars, but back then, they had no idea which clubs would draft them. Ben McEvoy is now the St Kilda ruckman and has experience the pain of losing a grand final while Brad Ebert made the big decision to be traded from a team on its way up the ladder to be closer to his family in Adelaide. Patrick Veszpremi was a happy-go-lucky kid, excited about moving to Sydney. Now he knows how hard you have to work to really make the grade.
Emma Quayle – senior football writer with The Age and talent identification expert – followed these five then-unknown boys In their draft year. This is a wart-and-all account of what the boys went through, and an insight into Hawthorn's draft strategy that won them the flag in 2008.