AFL draft makes Dragons' dreams come true (Bayside Review)

TWO Sandringham Dragons realised their football dreams when they were picked up at last week's AFL Draft.

James Stewart is going to Greater Western Sydney and Tom Temay was picked up by Carlton.

Stewart, 18, is a tall, athletic key forward who could also play in the backline. He juggled football with the Dragons, the AIS, school and Vic Metro and was taken with pick 27.

Stewart said he was excited to be drafted, particularly given his initial disappointment when Collingwood elected not to take him under the father-son rule in early October - his dad Craig played 115 games with the Pies.

"It hasn't sunk in yet to be honest. I'm rapt to get the opportunity . . . it's a strange, quite surreal feeling," he said.

"I had disappointment initially but I knew there was an opportunity for me, I just had to sit and wait."

Temay, 18, is a running defender who can push into the midfield. He has an insatiable appetite for the football as well - he averaged 18.8 disposals with Vic Metro at 77 per cent efficiency.

He and his family were on the couch together as AFL chief Andrew Demetriou and club recruiting officers counted down the picks.

When Carlton announced it would take him at pick 35, Temay breathed a sigh of relief.

"I was relieved when my name was called out," he said. "It was a pretty special moment for the family. We had a massive hug, shed a few tears, it was very exciting."

Father Paul, who played 52 games for St Kilda - not enough for Temay to qualify as a Saint under the father-son rule - said it was a very emotional moment

"We're so proud that Tom gets an opportunity to fulfil his dreams at an AFL club, particularly at such a proud club like Carlton," he said.

Sister Molly was overjoyed too. "I was really emotional," she said. "We're really close and it's all we talk about sometimes, especially in the last few years when he started doing well in footy and it started getting serious. I'm so excited for Tom."

For mother Sara it was the reward for a lot of football over the years.

"I can't quite remember not taking him to football," she said.

"You hope for the best and there are no guarantees so hearing his name was a very exciting moment.

"We would have been happy for him to go to any AFL club but there's a small part of me that is thrilled to bits he'll be playing in Melbourne."

Dragons football manager Luke O'Brien said it was good to see two of their players get drafted.

"It's a great result," he said. "Tom is an elite run-with player who could become a very good AFL midfielder and James has a lot of upside to him.

"You'd like a couple more to be drafted, I thought Tom Langdon, Tom Tyquin and Cameron Banfield were pretty stiff. Hopefully a few get taken in the rookie draft."


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