AFL dream burns for North Ballarat Rebels' Tom Templeton

TOM Templeton hopes heeding advice after missing out on the AFL drafts 12 months ago will boost his chances of landing at a club this week.

The North Ballarat Rebels midfielder improved his aerobic capacity, defensive skills and versatility during a consistent 2015 TAC Cup season.

Templeton believes the Rebels’ decision to retain him as a 19-year-old was crucial to fine-tuning his game.

“I definitely think playing-wise and development-wise that I’ve come a long way,” he said.

“My impact on games this year has been far greater.

“Developing my inside and outside game has been a positive for me, being more versatile.

“In the back end of the year my defensive pressure and tackling went up a bit, which was something I got told I needed to work on.”

The Portland export, whose family now lives in Wangoom, was happy with his performances at the AFL state combine in October.

He increased his output in the main tests – something he hopes recruiters noticed – after struggling in the endurance sections in 2014.

“I wanted to improve my beep test and it was a lot better,” he said.

“I got 14.2 and last year got 12.6.”

Templeton is likely to watch the national draft on TV at his Ballarat home on Tuesday night.

He intends to travel to Warrnambool if he is overlooked to be with his family for Friday’s rookie draft.

“I am in a similar boat to last year,” he said of his chances.

“I will still watch the national draft but I am mostly looking forward to Friday, that’s probably my best chance of being picked up.”

Templeton has a safety net in place, having committed to VFL club North Ballarat Roosters for the 2016 season.

The Roosters have become a standalone club after severing their AFL alignment with North Melbourne.

“The transition from Rebels to Roosters is pretty smooth,” Templeton said.

“I was training one day a week with them already and at the start of pre-season you knew everyone and felt comfortable.”

Templeton is one of a handful of south-west talents hoping to be selected via the drafts.

Terang Mortlake and Kolora-Noorat onballer Ben Moloney won Collingwood’s VFL best and fairest in 2015, while South Warrnambool utility Charlie Lee has trained with Western Bulldogs. 

South Warrnambool pair Sam Dwyer (Collingwood) and Louis Herbert (Gold Coast) and Terang Mortlake’s Jordie McKenzie (Melbourne) are searching for AFL lifelines.

The trio can be picked up as delisted free agents on Wednesday or Thursday or via the drafts.

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