It was a cold and windy March morning at Moorabbin when Jacob Edwards announced himself as a player of the future.
The Sandringham Dragons' NAB League squad was playing an intra-club and recruiters, starved of football in Victoria in 2020, were there in their droves watching one of the most talented lists in the country.
Then the long-haired 202cm Edwards emerged, hauling in several impressive marks and standing out to a crowd of scouts. As they scanned his birthdate and realised he was an 'over-ager', immediately discussions turned to his NAB AFL Mid-Season Draft chances.
"It's been a crazy ride these past couple of months," Edwards told AFL.com.au.
"If you'd told me a couple of months ago about it I never would have even thought about the mid-season draft or myself nominating for it. But hearing that I could be a good chance if I did go in it, I thought 'Yeah, why not?' It gets me closer to my goal."
The goal is getting drafted, and the ruck/key forward says he took his time weighing up whether to nominate for the mid-season intake or wait until the end of the year before pulling the trigger last Monday and lodging his form. He put his name in the mix for last year's national draft – which made him eligible for this year's mid-season group – but was overlooked by clubs who had not seen him play at NAB League level.
"I didn't speak to any clubs last year, I just thought that I may as well put my name in and who knows what could happen. I knew the chances were very low last year," Edwards said.
"Obviously I had the dream of getting drafted but I never really thought I could get drafted. But getting into the intra-club games and playing well I was pretty surprised to have all these people wanting to talk to me after those first couple of games."
His chances have continued to grow with every game this season, starting in the intra-clubs and continuing for the Dragons once the year commenced.
Edwards, who turns 19 in November, has kicked five goals from three games for the Dragons, as well as dominating at school level for Mentone Grammar, where he has told clubs he is keen to play out the season even if he gets taken mid-year.
The Kangaroos are poised to add Edwards to their list, with the head of player personnel Scott Clayton telling the Road to the Draft podcast that Edwards would be sitting in the top 10 of the national draft if he held out his nomination.
"I've had chats to them but nothing's been promised with what they're doing and who they're going to pick mid-season. They came to my house a few weeks ago and told us about the North Melbourne history and asked us a few questions," Edwards said.
With Victoria heading into its latest COVID-19 lockdown, Edwards has returned to home schooling, with his plans to play for Sandringham in the NAB League this weekend wiped out. It also means for a likely low-key celebration on Wednesday night as the names are called in the NAB AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft.
"There's not much I can really do now, but that doesn't really matter. I'll just be here with my family so I'm looking forward to it," Edwards said.
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