Cleve-born teenager Cameron Taheny is looking ahead to the 2019 AFL draft after watching his peers succeed.
The recent 2018 draft was a successful one for the Eyre Peninsula, with two local boys drafted to the same team.
Ben Jarvis from Port Lincoln and Jacob Kennerley from Cummins were drafted to the same club last month.
After playing together through their senior years of schooling and in the SANFL under 18 competition, they will remain teammates at the Geelong Football Club.
Taheny knows the pair well, having played alongside them for Norwood and boarded at Rostrevor College in Adelaide together.
He said he celebrated the news with his schoolmates.
“A group of us were watching the draft live in the boarding house and we had a bit of an idea that Ben may get selected by Geelong but, when Jacob was chosen as well, the whole place cheered… it’s great that they have gone to the Cats together,” he said.
Watching the success of his peers, Taheny reflected on his own dream of being selected by an AFL club this time next year.
“While I was watching my teammates get drafted, I was thinking how quickly your life can change and wondering if that could possibly be me in 12 months’ time,” he said.
Taheny has recently made another step towards his AFL dream.
The 17-year-old has been announced as an AFL Academy recruit for the new state-based format of the program.
Taheny is one of 30 draft hopefuls for next year and 2020 selected to the South Australian hub.
As part of the Academy, he will be attending multiple development camps over the summer and will have additional opportunities to develop his skills over the preseason.
He returned early this week from the first of the camps, which was a High Performance Camp in Alice Springs.
He will be going through the academy process with schoolmates Anzac Lochowiak and Joshua Schute.
His selection to the Academy is the most recent of many achievements throughout 2018 that have put him in a strong position leading into his draft year.
He was named best and fairest in school football for the Rostrevor First XVIII, played in a national under 17 side in New Zealand, was selected in the South Australian under 18 squad and played on the MCG on grand final day as part of the ‘Futures’ match.
He has also shown leadership skills, being named head boarder as he heads into his final year of high school.