TWO communities in two states came together as one of their own realised his AFL dream on Friday night.
Brisbane recruit Cedric Cox watched the draft in Camperdown alongside the people who helped him relocate to the Western Victorian town this year to better his football.
His family in Halls Creek – a remote town in Western Australia’s Kimberley region – couldn’t contain their pride when the Lions called his name out with pick 24.
Cox, who joined South Warrnambool midfielder Hugh McCluggage at the Lions, was one of five Hampden league exports drafted in a bumper night for the south-west region.
Camperdown reserves coach James Castles, a teacher who met Cox during a stint in Halls Creek, said he was proud of the resilient teenager.
“The phone is going off from people in Halls Creek,” he said.
“I can’t stop thinking about how proud the people in Halls Creek are and to be honest, even though this is a great thing for Western Victoria, but how much this means and will do for the people of Halls Creek.
“It’s a little town of 1000 people and just the hope it’s going to give people up there (is massive).”
Castles said there was plenty of nerves waiting to find out where Cox would land.
“We saw Western Bulldogs’ pick (at 18) and thought ‘this could be it, this could be it’ and it didn’t happen,” he said.
“Brisbane came as a surprise but we’re really happy he’s up there and he’s got support through (development coach) Paul Henriksen (who is) from Terang, plus the boys who got drafted.”
Cox, whose rapid rise included a mid-season call up to the TAC Cup program, said he was thrilled to join the Lions.
“I am feeling stoked and really happy about it,” he said.
“I want to focus on being a successful player and really fit in with the club.
“I just want to be a great player that everyone looks up to.”
Cox plans to “chill out and have a few phone calls with family” before leaving Camperdown for his new home on Monday.
“I just want to thank everyone who is part of Camperdown and for their support and what they’ve done for me,” he said.
“They’ve always been there every step of the way and have given me a chance to reach my goals and achieve what I want.”
They’ve always been there every step of the way and have given me a chance to reach my goals and achieve what I want.Cedric Cox