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My Draft Day: David Mackay

David Mackay  November 19, 2013 11:28 AM

AFL 2013 Rd 08 - Adelaide v St Kilda

David Mackay of the Crows celebrates a goal during the 2013 AFL round 08 match between the Adelaide Crows and the St Kilda Saints at AAMI Stadium, Adelaide on May 19, 2013. (Photo: James Elsby/AFL Media)

It will certainly go down as one of the strangest days of my life.

I went to draft camp and then spoke to about 10 clubs in the couple of months leading up to the draft, but in terms of expectations I had no real idea what was going to happen.

You get told a lot of things leading up to draft from your junior club, AFL clubs and player managers. But you can’t really believe any of it because once it happens on the day, it turns out to be a bit more like a lottery and unexpected things happen.

I was just hoping to go somewhere. I was pretty confident that it would happen, but you’re never sure and I was just lucky enough that it did.

I was at home listening to the draft on the radio with some of my family. I was counting every pick and waiting to hear what was happening. The further the draft goes the more anxious you become.

I didn’t really have a great idea that Adelaide was that keen on me. I’d spoken to the Crows at the draft camp, but it was just a quick chat really.

Alan Stewart actually got stuck into me a little and gave me a bit of a bake. I had a pretty poor game in one of the TAC Cup finals and Stewy wanted to know what had happened. I said I was a ‘confidence player’ and that didn’t go down too well with him. He said, ‘no-one should be a confidence player, because if you’ve got the ability and you try as hard as you can that’s all that really matters’.

I think he was just trying to see how I’d respond. A few years later I went to the draft camp with ‘Craigy’ and ‘Stewy’ and Matty Rendell and sit in on a few interviews. I realized that Stewy sort of does that to most of the young lads to try and get in their head and see what they’re made of.

It’s funny looking back because Stewy if I need help or anything like that, Stewy is one of the guys I go to. He’s been terrific for me.

But at the time I didn’t know all that and I thought my chances of going to Adelaide were pretty slim. So I was a little bit surprised when they called my name out. But when you get to that point you’re just happy that someone did.

Once my name was read out everything happened so quickly.

It was a bit of a whirlwind and a blur. It will certainly go down as one of the strangest days of my life. Your life changes at that point so you’ve just got to try to take it in and soak it up as best you can.

Craigy was at my house within an hour or two of the draft, and he was almost apologising to Mum.

My family was in two minds. They were obviously rapt that all their driving, and the money they had spent on getting me through junior footy had paid off to that extent, but they also were a bit upset that I had to pack up and leave.

It’s just the nature of the game and the draft. It can happen and it’s not easy, but they’re the sacrifices you have to make to play at the elite level.

I think Mum moved on from it pretty quick because she realised it was what I wanted to do. For Dad, it was probably one of the biggest things in his life as well and it was pretty difficult. I’d imagine it would be difficult for any father, letting their son move away and play footy when they had been such a big part of it. All of a sudden, they’re out of the loop and it would be a big change.

When Craigy and (recruiting manager) James Fantasia arrived they brought a heap of Crows gear. It was really exciting. I’d only seen Craigy through the media. From that, I had a lot of respect for the way that he and the Crows went about things, so it was really great to meet him.

I didn’t get a chance to celebrate with my girlfriend or my mates because they were all up at Schoolies Week. I remember I spent a bit of that night with a couple of other boys, who got drafted, like Sammy Sheldon, who was at Brisbane, and Robbie Gray from Port to celebrate a little bit.

But it was early to bed because the next day I was packing and flying to Adelaide.

The next night, I was having dinner in ‘Birdman’s’ [Brett Burton] living room, so it was all a bit surreal.


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