Mates Forster, Neale go to Freo
Norwood’s Alex Forster spent this afternoon “hanging out” with close mate Lachie Neale as he tried to take his mind off tonight’s AFL national draft.
Several hours later the 18-year-olds – who grew up together in the state’s south east and were junior teammates at Kybybolite Football Club – learnt they would be continuing their footy journey alongside one another after both were selected by Fremantle.
Forster, a rebounding half-back who played six League games for the Redlegs this year, was taken by the Dockers with pick No. 29, while ball-winning Glenelg midfielder Neale went at pick No. 58.
“I spent the afternoon with Lachie,” Forster said of Neale, his friend for about 15 years.
“We were playing a bit of FIFA (soccer) on Playstation actually, just chilled out, hanging out for three or four hours.
“The fact we’ve ended up at the same club is a dream come true, I can’t believe it.
“We lived in the country together and played footy together when we were real young.”
In the lead-up to the draft, Forster had been touted as a top-30 selection by the likes of AFL talent manager Kevin Sheehan.
He had starred for SA at this year’s national under-18 championships and was named All-Australian at its conclusion.
Then he finished the year playing SANFL finals, which would have done his draft chances no harm.
But Forster, of Kensington Park, was still nervous ahead of tonight’s draft call.
“I woke up early, around 6.30am and couldn’t get back to sleep,” he said.
“I’m so relieved that someone’s picked me up and I can now look forward on going over to Perth, put my head down and work hard.”
The reality of what had happened began to sink for Forster when shortly after his name was called Dockers skipper Matthew Pavlich called him.
“I didn’t recognise the number and thought ‘I wonder who this is’?
“He answered it and said ‘Hey mate, it’s Matt Pavlich here’, which was so surreal.”
Forster will head to Perth this weekend and will likely join Fremantle’s pre-season training next week.