The progression of Ryan Maric from a promising local player at Drouin, a town famous for its football heritage, to the West Coast Eagles is one of the heart-warming stories from the AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft.
Maric, 18, whose home town has produced elite players like Gary Ablett Snr, Geoff Ablett and Dale Thomas, was the club’s only selection (#1) in tonight’s draft and will be looking to head to Perth as soon as possible.
The 193cm utility player from Gippsland Power watched the live stream of the draft on the AFL website at Drouin Football Club. Widely tipped to be selected by the Eagles, a contingent of West Coast recruiting staff were on hand for the moment his name was called.
"We have been really impressed with Ryan’s commitment after completing his first ever pre-season, getting himself in the shape he needed to elevate his game," list manager Rohan O’Brien said.
"He has played with four different teams this year (Gippsland Power, Victoria Country, Young Guns and Box Hill) and has adapted nicely to each situation.
"We believe he has a lot of upside and has barely scratched the surface, so we will be excited to see what he brings to the club."
Maric has played the last couple of games for Box Hill in the VFL, kicking two goals in each match, but was used in defence in the Young Guns series.
After a solid preparation going into the season Maric kicked four goals against the Murray Bushrangers and followed up with three more against Bendigo a fortnight later.
When Maric was 15 he had a growth spurt where he shot up 30cm in a year which created some back issues. He was then hit by glandular fever, put on some weight and then worked hard to get to his current playing weight.