YOU'VE got to be in it to win it. That's the mantra of two south-west brothers vying to achieve their dream of becoming professional footballers on Wednesday.
Both Liam and Marcus Herbert, who started at Hampden league club South Warrnambool, are in the mix for the AFL's mid-season draft.
Expectations aren't high for the duo, but they acknowledge anything can happen in the weird and wonderful world of footy recruiting.
Liam, who is working as an apprentice builder in Geelong, has played just four games in 2021 due to injury.
The former elite junior basketballer suffered a head clash while playing for a Victorian Football League game for Geelong in early May and spent the night in hospital receiving scans on his head and neck.
While he was cleared of serious damage, he has since taken a conservative approach to recovery.
"I've had a couple of weeks off to let that settle down," he said.
You never know what can happen.- Liam Herbert
Liam, who has also featured for Geelong outfit Leopold, isn't full of expectations surrounding the mid-season draft due to his interrupted campaign.
"I'm not really expecting anything but thought I'd nominate just in case," he said.
"I've just had a couple of VFL games and thought if anything was to happen in those games (I'd give myself a chance) and that it'd be better to have my name in there than not.
"You never know what can happen."
Liam said his stint in the Geelong Football League was eye-opening and had lifted his game.
"Leopold has been a great club and very welcoming to myself and Mitch (Burgess). I didn't realise how good the quality of the footy actually is," he said.
"I'd heard it's good but when (Geelong VFL) said they'd rather I play GFL than Hampden, I wasn't sure if there was much of a difference between the two leagues but I think the GFL is a bit of a step up, so it's been good to experience that, and the VFL is a step up again.
"I just want to get some more games under my belt as I still haven't played a lot of footy with basketball (as a junior)."
Liam felt his running capacity and decision-making were building and could be assets to an AFL club but stressed his desire to keep building every facet of his game.
He praised his brother's improvement and exploits - alongside fellow South Warrnambool export Fraser Marris - in helping Greater Western Victoria Rebels become a NAB League force.
Marcus, who has divided his time between NAB League outfit Greater Western Victoria Rebels and Geelong's VFL side in 2021, said he would work to find his best form after a hit-and-miss start to the season.
"There aren't really any expectations and I'm not really that confident going into this because I feel like I haven't played my best footy yet (this season)," he said.
"I think last season I'd played two practice matches before round one and I was feeling pretty good about the season but obviously COVID ruled that out.
"Being a top-ager this year, I'm not really expecting to be picked up, but if I do, I do, if not, I'll wait until the end of the year and see what happens."
Marcus said dividing his time between NAB League and VFL had been a major learning curve. He said his inside midfield game had improved dramatically over the course of the season.
"I reckon I've developed it pretty well. I'm definitely more of an inside player than one of those outside runners," he said.
"I am trying to be that all-round (midfielder) but I want to be able to find my own footy and go from that."
South Warrnambool's Emmanuel Ajang, who has dominated for GFL outfit Geelong West Giants and is listed at Werribee, as well as Koroit export Josh Chatfield, are the other south-west hopefuls who have nominated for the draft. It will be broadcast on AFL.com.au from 6.30pm until 8pm.
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