Campbell Chesser was “over the moon” to be drafted by West Coast and believes he can add outside run and explosiveness to the Eagles squad.
Taken with the club’s first pick, No.14 overall, in the 2021 NAB AFL Draft, the Sandringham Dragons product forged an excellent junior career before the COVID interruptions and a knee injury halted his progress.
As a 16-year-old, Chesser played NAB League for the Dragons, was captain of the Vic Country under-16s team and was named All-Australian.
Frustratingly, the state-level underage sprinter rarely had an opportunity to strut his stuff in recent years, but West Coast recruiters had seen enough to pounce on the kid from Lavington (near Albury) on the border with New South Wales.
“I haven’t played too much to be honest over the last couple of years with COVID interruptions here in Victoria, and also tore my meniscus at the start of the year, so a slight knee injury there,” Chesser told Sportsday WA.
“I was out for a few weeks and quite a disjointed couple of years.
“But my strengths lie in my outside stuff, my kicking and my ability to break the lines and impact games that way.
“My outside run and explosiveness is where my strengths lie.
“I like to play across half-back, hybrid mid as well out on the wing.”
The silver lining to Chesser’s torn meniscus was the chance to work on his skills, and his long-range kicking is now a feature of the 18-year-old’s game.
“It was frustrating but it gave me an opportunity to work on some other things,” Chesser said.
“Once I was through my rehab I was able to really focus on my kicking and improved that, and now I see it as one of my strengths.”
Fully-recovered from his knee complaint, Chesser ran an elite 2km time trial in six minutes and 20 seconds during Draft Combine testing and will continue training over east before linking up with West Coast at a date to be confirmed.
The former Collingwood supporter, who views the 2018 Grand Final as “successful now”, is uncertain when he will arrive in WA due to quarantine requirements.
There is one man in particular he can’t wait to meet – Nic Naitanui – but Chesser’s excitement to join the club is palpable.
“The way he goes about it, I can’t wait to get over there and meet him,” Chesser said of Naitanui.
“I can’t wait to meet everyone, to be honest.
“It will be pretty crazy once I do get over there.”