Draft se­crets

Mercury (Hobart) - - FRONT PAGE - BRETT STUBBS AFL Draft

TAS­MA­NIA’S Mitch O’Neill has re­vealed the odd ques­tions AFL clubs ask draft hope­fuls, on the eve of tonight’s pick of the top 10 young play­ers around the coun­try. O’Neill is con­sid­ered the state’s best draft chance, and has a strong footy pedi­gree with fa­ther James, left, and grand­fa­ther David both for­mer North Ho­bart play­ers.

HE is car­ry­ing the weight of a state, but North Ho­bart’s Mitch O’Neill is ready to go.

The 18-year-old is Tas­ma­nia’s great draft hope hav­ing been grilled by AFL coaches, asked to play with chil­dren's toys and given a choice to save peo­ple from a run­away train.

The mid­fielder/wing­man is al­most cer­tain to have his name called at the AFL draft, and quite pos­si­bly the only Tas­ma­nian to do so.

Draft ex­perts have him se­lected not in tonight’s first round, but most likely in to­mor­row night’s se­lec­tion around the 40 mark.

“I’m pretty ner­vous,” O’Neill said.

“But I’m also pretty happy about where it sits at the mo­ment so see what hap­pens, it is on my mind 24/7.

“I don’t have ex­ams, so it is all I re­ally think about.

“It can get chal­leng­ing at times.

“But I’ve got a good net­work down here so I try not to think about it too much.”

He’s got foot­ball in his veins, with both his grand­fa­ther, David O’Neill, and dad, James O’Neill, play­ing a lot of se­nior foot­ball with North Ho­bart.

O’Neill, a two time un­der-18 All Aus­tralian, might have gone higher in the draft.

But he was re­stricted this year by knee in­juries, which kept him side­lined for large chunks.

It still hasn’t stopped him be­ing in­ter­viewed by all 18 clubs.

There are some weird ques­tions fired at prospec­tive draft picks to find out about their per­son­al­ity.

He was pre­sented with five toys by Syd­ney and asked which ones he would play with and why, while Gold Coast gave him a moral dilemma about a run­away train hurtling to­wards two plat­forms, one with five peo­ple and one with just a sin­gle per­son, which di­rec­tion he would steer the lo­co­mo­tive.

Nor­mally the tough ques­tions come from club re­cruiters — as many as eight in one in­ter­view — but that is not al­ways the case.

“Carl­ton were pretty in­ter­est­ing be­cause usu­ally the re­cruiters talk to you but it was (se­nior coach) David Teague ask­ing all the ques­tions,” he said.

“It was pretty cool but also pretty con­fronting. You’ve just got to an­swer them hon­estly.”

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