Western Jets draftee Lachlan Fogarty will get to call AFL superstars Patrick Dangerfield, Gary Ablett jnr and Joel Selwood his teammates next season.
Suffice to say, the star young midfielder is still pinching himself after landing at the Geelong Cats with pick 22 in the AFL National Draft on Friday night.
“To be honest, I still can’t believe it, it hasn’t really sunk in yet,” Fogarty told Star Weekly.
“It’s crazy to think I’ll be learning off those guys and playing with them.
“Probably the first few weeks, I’ll just be staring at them at training.
“It’s not just those guys, it’s the whole team, they’ve been so successful over such a long period of time, so I’m really excited to be a part of that.”
Fogarty was considered a draft night steal for Geelong. The Spotswood product was talked up as a mid-to-late first round fancy, but he slipped to the Cats early in the second round.
‘Fogs’, as he is known, could not have enjoyed a more complete junior career, making every post a winner, be it with the Jets, Vic Metro, NAB AFL Academy or St Kevin’s College.
There was still a bit of draft night tension for Fogarty though, when he saw some clubs that were linked to him overlook him in the back end of the first round.
“I was getting a bit worried, but with pick 22, Geelong said my name and I’m just really excited for the next chapter,” he said.
“I’ve been wanting to do this for so long, it’s been my dream, so I guess it’s just a bonus that I get to stay close to home.”
Fogarty said his ability to work in tight confines on a football field might have been strengthened with his basketball background.
The 18-year-old was a star player for Altona Gators in the juniors, winning four most valuable player awards, a state championship and representing Vic Metro at the nationals.
“I was heavily into my basketball,” Fogarty said.
“The basketball has helped my footy in a number of ways, just the awareness [in the contested ball] and the ability to use both sides of my body has been really helpful.”
Fogarty settled on a football career and it’s a good thing too with the talent at his disposal.
He comes from a football-loving family, including brothers Michael, who played in Footscray’s VFL premiership, and Matthew, who played in a Spotswood WRFL flag winner.
Fogarty is proud to call Spotswood his home club. He is a third generation Woodsman player, as his grandfather Don Smith and dad Terry also played for the club.
Fogarty made his name for the Jets as an inside midfielder, but his fastest route to senior football could be in a small forward role. He does, however, envisage a future in the midfield at the top level.
“Down the track, I see myself becoming a full-time midfielder, so to get to that I’ll need to improve my endurance and strength as well.”