Most young players preparing to arrive at their new clubs following Wednesday night’s NAB AFL draft will be entering the unknown in the coming weeks.
They might have trained with development squads or even played some state-league footy, but the AFL is a different beast.
However, it’s fair to assume West Coast’s first selection from this year’s national ballot, Luke Edwards, will land in the Eagles’ nest with his eyes wide open thanks to the insight of his father Tyson, who played 321 games and claimed two premierships with Adelaide across a 16-year AFL career.
Speaking to SEN SA Breakfast this morning, Edwards said his father gave him some simple advice after West Coast snared him with pick No.52: Don’t take this opportunity for granted.
“I think the main thing (dad said) is if you get given an opportunity take it; don’t be one of those players that lasts two, three or four years in the system and doesn’t work hard,” Edwards said.
“He said once you get an opportunity it’s time to knuckle down and the hard stuff starts now.
“Once I get over there I want to work hard, earn the respect of all the players and staff and the rest should take care of itself.”
Edwards is unlikely to land at Eagles HQ before Christmas due to travel restrictions between Western Australia and South Australia, but that hasn’t stopped him putting in the hard yards back home.
With the help of his father and younger brother Brodie, the 18-year-old has been adhering to a strict training regimen to maintain his fitness.
“I’ve been training hard with dad and my younger brother Brodie,” Edwards revealed.
“We’ve been doing 6.30am running sessions and (Brodie’s) been ‘Darren Burgess junior’.
“He’s got the whistle out and he’s acting all professional.”
When he’s not running laps around his local oval, Edwards has been fielding calls from his new teammates.
The Glenelg product said he was thrilled to receive calls and texts from the likes of captain Luke Shuey, premiership skipper Shannon Hurn and four-time all-Australian defender Jeremy McGovern.
“They’ve been super; my phone hasn’t stopped,” Edwards said.
“They’ve all been messaging me. Luke Shuey gave me a call yesterday, Shannon Hurn also gave me a quick call and ‘Gov’ (Jeremy McGovern) sent me a quick message.
“Shannon Hurn … is rapt that another SA boy can do down to Perth. He just told me to enjoy the moment.
“They’ve been rippers and I just can’t wait to get over there and actually meet all the crew.”
When asked what Eagles fans could expect to see from him next year, Edwards described himself as a flexible, ambitious footballer who likes winning.
“I think (I’m) a versatile player who has got good vision, clean hands and can use my kick off the half-back, middle or even up forward,” he said.
“I’ve played everywhere this year and I think it’s a strength of mine, that I can go anywhere when needed. I’m a versatile type of player who just loves his footy and wants to win.
“I think the main goal for 2021 is that you want to play your first AFL game. I think that would probably be the number one goal, to play an AFL game.
“But if not, just play good footy in the WAFL over there and see where it takes me.”