Fremantle’s first pick yesterday, Tom Sheridan, nearly escaped the TAC Cup talent net.

Living at Riddells Creek, on the very north-western tip of Melbourne’s metropolitan area and hence the very north-western tip of the Calder Cannons zone, Sheridan had been overlooked in their 14s and 15s squads.

But one trial match at under-15s level changed all that, as the Cannons’ development manager Len Villani explained yesterday.

“Tommy is a good story,” he said. “He comes from a unique pathway, initially anyway.

“He was overlooked as a 14 or 15-year-old and we have a game where we look at the best of the rest, if you like, in the under-15s.

“We got a bit of a whisper about a kid from Riddells Creek and we played him in this game and he was just an absolute standout.

“We ended up bringing him into our playing squad and from there the rest is history now.”

Sheridan confirmed his potential in this year’s under-18s titles, where he averaged 14 possessions a game for the Vic Metro team.

He had outstanding results at the draft combine, recording top-three results in the beep test (15.7) and the 3km time trial (9min. 57sec.).

The streets of Riddells Creek were rocking last night as more than 50 people descended on the Sheridan household to celebrate.

“It has been a really big day. I am just overwhelmed and honoured. It is great to be going to such a nice club,” said Sheridan, who counts Docker Nat Fyfe amongst his favourite players.

“We were having a party at our house and everyone went nuts. Mum cried but she is happy now – probably just not used to me leaving home.”

Sheridan said he laid the foundations for his 2011 season the previous year, playing alongside draftees like Dion Prestia (Gold Coast) and Tom Liberatore (Bulldogs).

“It was a real learning year with a nice finish for me in the latter half when I played really good footy, including in two finals,” he said.

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