When Cameron Taheny begins his AFL career at Geelong on Monday morning, he will be strengthening a growing connection between the club and the Eyre Peninsula with three current players and a coach hailing from the region.
Taheny watched the draft among family and friends in his home town at the Cleve Hotel on Thursday evening, where he was taken at pick 50 after the Cats orchestrated a live trade of picks with Essendon to move up the order.
He said prior to the draft he had been predicted to be taken around the 30-50 mark, making it a long wait to hear his name called.
"A few things went my way and I was lucky enough to end up at Geelong," he said.
Taheny said he had had "a couple of chats" with Geelong recruiters through the draft process and knew he may end up there, but nothing was set in stone until the pick was made.
"It's always a nice surprise to hear your name called," he said.
"You just never really know."
He said the history the Geelong Football Club has with footballers from the Eyre Peninsula was something that made the club stand out for him.
Geelong is most notably home to Kimba success story Corey Enright, who won three premierships, six All-Australian selections and two club best and fairest awards with the Cats and remains at the club in a development role.
In 2018, the club also drafted Port Lincoln's Ben Jarvis and Cummins's Jacob Kennerley who both went to school with Taheny.
Taheny said he had gone through the Eyre Peninsula junior programs with the pair as well as spending time together while boarding at Rostrevor College for their final years of schooling.
"I get to join them at Geelong, which should be a bit of fun," he said.
Beyond his former schoolmates, Taheny said he was looking forward to the chance to get out and train alongside players such as Brownlow medalist Patrick Dangerfield and club captain Joel Selwood, who he said was one of the most courageous players and best captains in the league.
"I'm looking forward to training with everyone, it's going to be great to learn off these guys," he said.
He said coming from the country he was also looking forward to the Geelong environment, living closer to agricultural land and in a city that was "like a big country town."