The first round of the AFL Draft may have already come and gone, but Dylan Buckley believes those taken in the latter stages could be in for an even better experience than the top dogs.
The first round of the national draft was staged at Marvel Stadium last night, with the remainder of the national draft, the pre-season and rookie drafts to play out tonight and tomorrow morning.
Buckley was the special guest on Episode 3 of Sport Insights with Emageo, speaking about both of his draft experiences, first in the national draft as a teenager in 2011 and then in 2017 when he was taken by Greater Western Sydney in the rookie draft.
Buckley explained how he had kept the possibility of heading to the Giants from his family, friends and fiance because he wasn’t sure it would come off.
On the day of the draft, he said he felt sick and kept checking his phone.
“I was looking for the Giants logo and saw it next to my name,” Buckley said. “To this day it gives me goosebumps. It was just the most incredible feeling. So I’m so excited for guys like that … in the rookie draft to experience that.
“I think that the draft night is best for those guys that don’t know – there’s a bit of a cloud. Because I think it means a lot more to them, it means a lot to everyone but it means a lot more when you’ve probably been worrying about it for your whole life. The top 10, they know they are going to go somewhere, it’s more just the angst of seeing where it is. Those guys that were in the position of not knowing, from my experience it was just absolutely incredible and they work really hard when they get in there because they know the opportunity might not have happened.”
Buckley was positive about both his time at the Blues and the Giants, managing 41 games over eight years in the AFL system.
The 26-year-old described leaving Carlton as a mutual break up, saying “we knew we weren’t right for each other any more.”
“The industry is harsh but I sort of do think at the end of the day we are blessed,” Buckley said. “We’re absolutely blessed to spend one day (or even) eight years in an AFL system. The game doesn’t really owe us anything.
“We are just passengers, we get to wear the jumpers and have our names on the list and do that for a living. It’s an opportunity that you can’t say no to and I’ll be forever grateful. I think I saw a stat that 0.03 of footballers get to play at the highest level. To say I’ve done that eight years is incredible to say.”