SOUTH Warrnambool premiership defender Matt Sully expects to line up for Geelong next season, but in the VFL, not AFL.
Sully, 20, is one of a handful of mature-age south-west footballers who could be picked up in tonight’s AFL national draft.
Colac’s Dean Towers rocketed into draft contention after a breakout season with North Ballarat Roosters in the VFL and Camperdown’s Sam Gordon and Port Melbourne’s Sam Dwyer, formerly of South Warrnambool, are also outside chances.
Former Terang Mortlake midfielder Luke Rounds will seek a second chance after Collingwood delisted him.
North Ballarat Rebels teenagers Louis Herbert (South Warrnambool) and Martin Gleeson (Koroit) are the region’s main draft hopes.
Sully played down his draft chances.
The key position player was restricted to seven appearances in his first season on Geelong’s VFL list in 2012.
Sully made the Cats’ best in five of his seven games.
“I think my chances are very slim because it wasn’t my best year,” he said.
“I was injured for eight weeks of it. It was a good year to settle in.”
Sully joined Geelong after a standout year with South Warrnambool in 2011 but was hampered by ankle and Achilles injuries.
“It was a good experience this year. Hopefully with my foot in the door I will know a bit more of what to expect,” he said.
Dwyer, a consistent performer at VFL level, has been overlooked numerous times.
At 26, the Borough premiership midfielder said he still held some hope of making the elite grade.
“You are always a chance, you never know,” he said.
“Although it’s pretty slim, who knows what they are going to do.”
Dwyer said he would remain with Port Melbourne next season if he wasn’t drafted.
“It’s a good club. I have a lot of friends there and Ayresy (Gary Ayres) is a good coach,” he said.
Speaking to The Standard last week on a visit home, Hawthorn premiership player Jordan Lewis encouraged new draftees to embrace their opportunities.
“The first 12 months is a bit of a whirlwind,” Lewis said.
“You’ve got all this information that you need to process and sometimes you don’t know how to process it. Sometimes you’re not there for long, so whether you’re there for a year, two years, just really enjoy your time.
“And really push yourself. Don’t just think you’re going to come in and play reserves football straight away. Try and play senior football and try and see how far you can go in your first year.”
The AFL national draft is tonight on the Gold Coast, starting at 7pm.
Fox Footy will televise it live and afl.com.au will announce picks as they unfold.