It’s been a whirlwind few days for former Calder Cannons forward and new Geelong player Francis Evans.
The surprise pick in the recent AFL national draft, Evans has quickly had to adjust to life as an AFL player.
Taken by the Cats at pick 41, Evans last week said that it had only just started to sink in that he is on an AFL list.
“Yesterday I was having breakfast at the club and Danger [Patrick Dangerfield], Joel [Selwood] and Gary [Ablett junior] walked in.
“That’s when it started to sink in.”
Evans’ journey into the AFL system is different to most.
Having only recently focused on football, he had never been part of the pathway system.
He starring early for Brunswick NOBS in the VAFA, and was added to the Calder Cannons’ squad for the NAB League early in the season.
He said he had never thought about trying out for the Cannons.
“I thought it was too late to try out,” he said.
“Most had been there since they were 16 and had pretty much cemented their spot in the side.
“I was lucky enough to get picked up in about round three or four.”
Evans played just two games for the Cannons, kicking five goal,, before a heel injury prematurely ended his season.
Despite that, Evans had done enough to make a couple of clubs stand up and take notice.
Geelong was one of them and they had been down to watch him.
Evans said looking back, it was pretty crazy that Geelong were there watching him.
Come draft time, Evans thought if he was to be drafted it would be in the rookie draft on Friday morning.
His dream came true a day earlier. “I was pretty speechless,” he said when he heard his name.
“We had a good idea it was going to happen, we just didn’t know when. I was over the moon, it was on the Thursday.
“I always thought I could and always hoped that it would happen. I’m glad it panned out the way it did.
“There were a lot of texts and messages which made me feel appreciated.”
Evans said his story showed that you don’t have to go through the traditional pathway system and that hard work pays off. Now in an AFL club, he said how he got there didn’t matter.
“I’m here now, your name doesn’t really matter. I’ve still got a lot to prove.
“We all have the same opportunities, it doesn’t matter whether you’re pick one or the last pick.”
Evans, who has fully recovered from his heel injury, started pre-season training with the group last week.
A medium-size midfielder, Evans said down the track he would like to make a move into the midfield.