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Dream draft for McPherson

Katrina Gill  November 25, 2017 12:10 PM

Pick 40: Andrew McPherson Highlights Watch highlights of the Crows 2017 Draft selection Andrew McPherson in action
AFL 2017 Media - AFL Academy v Northern Blues

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 15: Andrew McPherson in action during the AFL Academy v Northern Blues match at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia on April 15, 2017. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)

I’m really grateful that Adelaide showed faith in my ability and still called my name out

Draft night couldn’t have panned out much better for Andrew McPherson.

Selected by Adelaide, McPherson not only stayed in South Australia but joined a club five minutes from his family home in the western suburbs.

Being drafted alongside mate and joint SA Under-18 vice-captain Darcy Fogarty was the cherry on top.

Watching the NAB AFL Draft on TV with parents Simon and Elsa and brother Will, McPherson couldn’t believe his luck when his name was read out by the Crows at pick No.40.

“For a few seconds I don’t think anyone really knew what had happened. It was a bit surreal, but then there was plenty of noise,” McPherson said.

“Mum was screaming her head off and everyone was pretty excited.

“I’m just really pumped to have my name called out and to be staying home and going to the Crows, who are such a great club and are obviously heading in the right direction.”

McPherson and Fogarty – Adelaide’s pick No.12 on Friday night – first played together in the Under-16 state team.

They were opponents before that, with McPherson going through the junior ranks at Woodville-West Torrens and Fogarty representing Glenelg.

McPherson, who spoke to Fogarty over the phone briefly after the draft, was pleased to have the powerful 192cm, 92kg, utility on his team again.

“Darcy and I have played a fair bit of footy together and also against each other when we were younger,” he said.

“Darcy plays the game hard and doesn’t fear anything, so it was always a good contest.

“He’s a bit bigger than me, so I didn’t get caught in that situation (of playing on him) too often!”

For National Recruiting Manager Hamish Ogilvie, McPherson’s dream draft hand brought back memories of Brodie Smith back in 2010.

Smith was one of the first Crows players to text McPherson on Friday night.

“Andrew lives around the corner from the Club and he’s from the Eagles, just like Brodie,” Ogilvie said.

Like Smith, McPherson also grew up supporting Adelaide’s fiercest rival, Port Adelaide.

“I’m more than happy to switch over now!” McPherson said with a laugh.

McPherson was in first-round draft calculations before injury wrecked his 2017 season.

The 186cm, rebounding defender represented SA at the Under-18 Championships as a ‘bottom-aged’ player in 2016 and was part of the NAB AFL Academy with Fogarty.

He impressed while touring the US with the Academy squad in the pre-season and looked good in the reserves for Woodville-West Torrens before his injuring his quad.

McPherson spent three months recuperating and then jagged his hamstring. All up, he managed only a few games.

“It was pretty frustrating,” he said.

“I’m really grateful that Adelaide showed faith in my ability and still called my name out.

“It has been tough at times, but I’ve learned a few things and been able to build up resilience as well.”

The most devastating setback occurred in the Under-18 Grand Final when McPherson felt his hamstring go again early in the second quarter.

He finished the game on the bench and watched the Eagles get beaten comprehensively by Sturt.

“It definitely wasn’t the best feeling having put myself up for selection and then getting injured. You feel like you’ve let the team down going down so early,” he said.

“I still tried to help out in other ways on the day. Unfortunately, we didn’t get over the line.”

Displaying maturity and a level head, McPherson did his best to contribute in ‘other ways’ all season.

“Being a leader at state level, I still tried to lead and also offer encouragement and knowledge to the boys.

“Obviously, I couldn’t influence the games by being out there so I tried to do whatever else I could.”

Ogilvie and the Crows recruiters continued to be impressed by McPherson, who also studied Sports Mechanical Engineering at Adelaide University part-time this year.

The teenager’s professionalism, character and past form was enough to convince the Crows to pick him.

“He had an outstanding season last year as a 17-year-old. His form in the All Stars game on Grand Final eve at Punt Road last year was fantastic,” Ogilvie said.

“He’s a high-level decision maker, very intelligent and a great character from a good family.

McPherson has adopted a cautious approach to his rehabilitation from a series of soft-tissue complaints.

He’s focused on developing his upper-body and core strength while injured, and will remain on a modified program when he arrives at Adelaide on Monday.

“My rehab is coming along pretty well. I’ve just been taking it slow under the physio’s orders and I'll be guided by the Club when I get in there,” he said.

“I want to do everything I can to get it right once and for all, so I can get back out there and stay there.”