Author(s): Emma Quayle
You don't know much about Jake Lever, Peter Wright, Isaac Heeney, Tom Lamb or Clem Smith except that they've been drafted by an AFL club. Next year, they could be in your Supercoach team. They could be stars of the future. Every season, hundreds of boys are put through their paces at AFL draft camps, training sessions, under-18 competitions and school footy matches. All are hopeful that their work will pay off and they'll end the year signed to an AFL team. Meanwhile, clubs are doing whatever they can to get the right talent to accelerate on-field success. Emma Quayle, senior football writer for The Age and an expert on talent identification, tracks the five boys through 2014, the year they nominate for the AFL national draft. We meet their coaches and families. We hear the boys' dreams and anxieties. We ride the bumps and share the triumphs. With exclusive behind-the-scenes access to the St Kilda FC as they decide on their 2014 draft picks, Emma shows what it takes to become an AFL footballer. For these five boys, hearing their name called out by a recruiter on draft day is only the start of their football story. But it takes a hell of a lot to get to that start line.
Emma Quayle has been a senior sports writer at Melbourne's Age newspaper since 2001. She has won the Grant Hattam Trophy, the AFL Players' Association award for excellence in football journalism. She is widely acknowledged as an expert in talent identification.