Nick Blakey has credited the QBE Sydney Swans Academy with helping him live out his AFL dream after being recruited by Sydney with pick 10 in the National Draft on Thursday night.
The 18-year-old forward was taken by the Swans after they matched a bid from the Greater Western Sydney Giants for the Academy product.
Blakey said the guidance of the Swans Academy over his junior years has been vital in him finding hsi way onto an AFL list.
"The academy has been huge, they have basically shaped me into the player that I am now," he said.
"Chris Smith who runs the Academy along with the coaches in Jared Crouch and Nick Davis run an elite program so I was very lucky to be there.
"It is 18 years of work and I am finally a Swan so I couldn't be happier."
National Recruiting Manager Simon Dalrymple said it was the versatility of Blakey that made him stand out amongst his peers.
"It was a terrific result given the quality of player that Nick is, he is versatile and can play in three parts of the ground,"
"It is also a great endorsment of the Academy program that Nick chose the Swans because he did have another couple of options.
"We are really thrilled to have him and think he can have a very long and succesful career."
Blakey said he had enjoyed played as a forward during the last couple of seasons of football but was willing to line up wherever the coaching staff required him to in 2019.
"Lately I have just been playing as a forward but I like getting up the ground and having a run and jump at the ball," he said.
"I am going to be working hard and wherever it is I am playing I am going to give it my best."
Despite being able to chose Brisbane or North Melbourne under the Father-Son rule, Blakey made the decision to stay in Sydney and remain close to his family.
"It was a tough decision but I wanted to stay at home so if I could play my football at the Swans which I can now then I woudl be stoked so I am over the moon," he said.