KOROIT premiership player Josh Chatfield is overjoyed with his early Christmas present - a VFL contract.
The forward has signed with Footscray after impressing at Bulldogs' pre-season training.
Chatfield, who lives in Ballarat, said he felt "pretty fortunate" to commit to the Whitten Oval-based club.
"I walked into the office and one of the bosses up there said 'Merry Christmas, I have a present for you' and then pulled that (a contract) out," he told The Standard.
"It was a very, very early Christmas present. I wasn't expecting it at all, especially before playing any practice matches."
Chatfield, who is aligned to Ballarat league club North Ballarat, will use his Christmas break to improve his fitness ahead of a return to Footscray training in mid-January.
"They didn't want me to go into Christmas wondering if I had a position (on the list) or not and umming and ahhing with it," he said.
"Now it (the contract) is done and dusted, I can focus on doing a lot of work over the Christmas break and getting prepared."
Footscray is aligned to AFL club Western Bulldogs, giving Chatfield a chance to rub shoulders with the likes of All-Australian Marcus Bontempelli.
"There are AFL intra-club matches coming up in January and they said a handful of (VFL) boys get picked to play in them," Chatfield said.
"That is why I want to put in a lot of work over the Christmas break and put my best foot forward."
Earning a VFL debut early in the season is also on the mobile footballer's wish list.
"It is about trying to play consistent footy, whether it be at the Dogs or North Ballarat," Chatfield said.
"The Dogs are the priority for me at the moment and I couldn't be happier about being there.
"They're a great bunch of blokes and they seem very supportive and they obviously know what they're doing."
Chatfield will spend Christmas in Warrnambool with family. His pre-season training regime will be a high priority.
"There won't be much other than putting my head down and training," he said.
"You have to keep committed to the program."
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