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Knight's draft shock

Katrina Gill  November 22, 2013 2:04 AM

AFC Draft Insider: Meet Riley Knight Selected with Pick No.46 at the 2013 NAB AFL National Draft, exciting prospect Riley Knight joins the Crows.
Riley Knight of South Australia poses for a photograph during the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships headshot session, at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on July 2, 2013. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)

Riley Knight of South Australia poses for a photograph during the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships headshot session, at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on July 2, 2013. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)

I only had one meeting with Adelaide prior to the Draft Combine and that was it, so when they read my name out I was a astonished.

New recruit Riley Knight says he was “astonished” to be selected by Adelaide after only speaking to the Club once in the lead-up to the AFL National Draft.

Knight, 18, became a Crow with pick No.46 in Thursday night’s meet on the Gold Coast. Watching with his parents and two sisters at home in Clare, the hard-running half-forward couldn’t believe his luck when he realised he’d be staying close to home next season.

“I only had one meeting with Adelaide prior to the Draft Combine and that was it, so when they read my name out I was astonished. They really play their cards close to their chest,” Knight said.

“I’m over the moon I get to stay in SA. I’m stoked. Everyone jumped off the couch at home as soon as they heard the name ‘Riley’ they didn’t even wait (for my last name to be called).”

Knight moved to Adelaide in Year 11 after receiving a scholarship to St Peter’s College.

The 180cm, 72kg, ball winner played school footy, represented South Australia at the Under-18 National Championships. He also made a few appearances for the Woodville-West Torrens Under-18s, racking up 37 touches, eight marks, five clearances and nine inside 50ms in Round Two - a performance that earned him the 'Macca's Cup' MVP nomination.

However, a knee injury prevented him from playing in the team’s Grand Final win.

A strong endurance runner with a beep test above 15, Riley was also forced to sit out testing at the Draft Combine as he recovered from surgery on his knee.

“I was actually looking forward to testing myself against some elite athletes my own age, but it wasn’t to be,” he said.

“At the time, I was a bit nervous it would hurt my draft chances, but it doesn’t really matter now.”

A strong tackler and willing worker, Knight fills a need in the Crows squad as a high half-forward.

“I played as a defensive half-forward/midfielder at the Champs,” he said.

“I pretty much ran all over the ground right into defence and then pushed forward into attack. I think I had a fairly consistent carnival. I grew into the role as it wore on and was fortunate to play under Brenton Phillips in a successful side. I couldn’t have asked for any more.”

Knight also fits new coach Brenton Sanderson’s selection criteria, describing himself as a competitor, who “never wants to lose a one-on-one battle or contested ball.”

During his time at St Peter’s, Knight met Crows midfielders Brad Crouch and Sam Kerridge.

Crouch and Kerridge worked with the school team as part of a coaching certificate.

“Crouchy and Sam Kerridge came out and helped us run a few training sessions,” Knight said.

“It was good to train with those guys there and tap into their knowledge. It was particularly good for me and Mitch Harvey, who also got drafted tonight. We got a bit of an insight to the AFL.”

A strapping key forward, Harvey is also staying local.

He was actually selected by Port Adelaide with the pick prior to Knight (No.45). The pair will return to St Peter’s on Friday for the school’s graduation ceremony.

“I think there will be a lot of celebrations at school,” he said.

On Monday, Knight will start his new life as a Crow … and he can’t wait.

“Being able to train and play with your childhood heroes, and the likes of Patrick Dangerfield and Rory Sloane, it’s going to be surreal at the start,” he said.

“I haven’t done a league pre-season yet, so I’m really looking forward to the challenge and testing myself against the best of the best.”

 

Riley’s onboard. Are you? Visit 19thman.com.au or phone the Member Service Centre on (08) 8440 6666 to become a member in 2014