Karan Bharathi may have just been hailed as the best player in the Western Region Football League’s division two, but he could be running around in different colours in 2020.
The Yarraville Seddon Eagles winger took home the Alan Smith Medal recently, and is currently weighing up offers from three VFL clubs as he continues to strive to reach his dream of an AFL career.
The medal capped off a great year for the 18-year-old, with the Eagles also claiming the premiership after dominating minor-premiers Wyndhamvale last month. Bharathi won best on ground honours.
“It was a fun night, not just for me but for the club as well,” Bharathi said.
“I had my mum there, and it was one of the first times she’s been there to see me win an award, so that was nice.
“I went in hoping for the best. I had a questionable start, getting used to senior footy, but about half way through I picked up my form and started playing consistent footy which was good.”
He said his game went to new heights when he addressed some of his technical deficiencies through the middle portion of the season.
“I needed to become a better ball user to really improve my game, so that was a big focus as the year rolled on,” he said.
“I can win my own ball, and do get plenty of it, but I needed to get better at using it, so that was probably where I was able to lift my game the most.”
Bharathi said winning a league best and fairest and premiership in his first year of senior football opened his eyes to just how much the game and the club meant to some people.
“I didn’t really understand what it takes to put a senior team on the park,” he said.
“I was part of the junior program, and I didn’t really think there was much importance behind it, but when you play senior footy you see all the volunteers and you realise how important football is to some people and to the local community more importantly.
“That was the biggest eye-opener for me, so to take this team to div 1 was awesome.”
For Bharathi, the focus now turns to his future, and he has some big decisions to make as he weighs up offers from Footscray, Werribee and Collingwood in the VFL.
“There’s nothing concrete yet, so I’ll hopefully do a pre-season down at one of those clubs, get on a VFL list and then hopefully end up playing AFL one day,” he said.
“We’ll see how we go. It’s mainly deciding whether to go with an AFL affiliated club or a stand-alone club, so it’s about figuring out what’s going to be best for me and where I can show my traits and expose myself to the higher level and recruiters.
“There’s a lot of things to consider, but hopefully sooner than later I’ll make a call.”