Jake Brown is full of praise for the QBE Sydney Swans Academy for helping to make the near impossible possible after landing on the Swans' rookie list on Monday.
Brown, 19, who joined the inaugural Coffs Harbour Academy in 2010, was pre-selected as a Category B Rookie ahead of Monday's Rookie Draft alongside fellow academy graduate James Bell.
Brown says his long-held dream of reaching the AFL would have remained only a pipe dream had it not been for the "amazing support" he'd received over the journey from the many coaches and support staff both in Coffs and, in recent years, Sydney.
"The Academy has been great," he told SwansTV on his first official day at the Club.
"The coaching staff have been great, from Crouchy (Jared Crouch) to Mick (Michael O'Loughlin), Tadhg (Tadhg Kennelly) has been in and out, so has Davo (Nick Davis).
"The development staff pop down to training all the time to help you really understand the structures and what's expected at senior level.
"So Smithy (Chris Smith, General Manager) and Maddie (Maddie Head, Operations Manger) have been unbelievable, constantly helping out, always answering their phone, getting you to places on time, making sure you're doing the right thing, on your back the whole time which has really helped."
Brown has also let his football do the talking.
After moving to Sydney to complete his HSC, Brown flourished under the guidance of Crouch to represent the U18 Allies at the National Champiosnhips in 2016 before being added to the NEAFL Development Squad (NDS) for 2017.
He then starred for the Academy's U18s in the National Championships' Divison 2 series against GWS, Gold Coast and Brisbane academies this year before travelling to Melbourne to again represent the the Kennelly-coached Allies.
Brown was equally rapt for Bell who's been with him every step of the way.
"It's unreal, unreal that we've taken out the academy series together (and then) into Allies; we've been together for the last two years along with the other boys," Brown said.
"It's good to have someone else you know there.
"It shows it's worth sticking it out in the Academy, it's really worth going to and really pushing through.
Of the next year's U18 and U16 squads: "Hopefully the boys can have another five-zip (series win) this year and we can have a few more (draftees)."
Brown and Bell join 2012 premiership player Alex Johnson, Sandringham pair Joel Armatey and Angus Styles plus retained rookies Ben Ronke, Toby Pink and Robbie Fox on the Sydney Swans' rookie list for season 2018.