Lucas Rocci is keeping a level head, but he could be on the verge of continuing a strong recent trend from the NAB League.
The Western Jets captain recently won the Morrish Medal as the best and fairest player in the state under-18 competition, and despite missing out on selection for the national championships and not receiving an invite to the AFL draft combines, he is keeping his fingers crossed for a fairytale draft night.
“I’ve just got to wait it out and see what happens from here,” Rocci said.
“There’s definitely some interest there that I can’t really say much about, but I just hope I can get on a list and show what I can do.”
If he is picked up, it will continue a strong recent run of Morrish medallists making an impact in the AFL – Clayton Oliver, Hugh McCluggage, Jack Higgins and Liam Stocker all won the award on their way to being drafted in the past four seasons.
Oliver, now a two-time best and fairest winner at Melbourne, also missed national championship and combine selection.
“There’s so many stories of players missing out in under-18s and getting drafted and having success, so that does give me hope,” Rocci said.
“Look at someone like Kane Lambert. Missed getting drafted, came back and now he’s a two-time premiership player at Richmond, so we’ll just see what happens from here.
“I took a few weeks off to recharge the batteries, but I’m back in some gym and running work now to keep myself ready.”
Rocci put together a stellar year for the Jets, flourishing in the second half when he moved to half-back to utilise his elite disposal.
He was selected on the bench in the team of the year, but said he was shocked when he started to creep up the leaderboard in the medal count as well.
“It was pretty amazing, because I wasn’t expecting to win anything when I went along,” he said.
“Missing Vic Metro was disappointing, but anyone who misses has a bit of extra motivation. I just looked at it as ‘footy is footy’ and just keep playing and see where it takes you.
“All we wanted to do was get better as a team and as people, and I think everyone in our side can say we did that. The medal is just the icing on the cake.”
Rocci is the first Jets player to take home the award, and he said he was proud to show that the western suburbs can produce.
“It’s definitely special, and I’m very honoured,” he said. “I look at the young blokes coming through the program and the western region, and it shows them that anything is possible coming out of the west.
“Some people look down on the western region as a less competitive region, so winning that medal I think shows that we can match it with anyone.”
Rocci is the October nominee for the Don Deeble Rising Star award.
The award, hosted by the Sunshine Western Region Sports Club and
Star Weekly, recognises young athletes from the western suburbs who have achieved outstanding results at state and or national levels.
Rocci will receive $1000 and other prizes, donated by the Yarraville Club Cricket Club, to assist him in achieving his sports goals.