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Premiership Bomber helps unearth surprise gem

TAC 2016 Rd 14  - Northern Knights v Eastern Ranges
Josh Begley gets a kick away for Eastern Ranges

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TWELVE months ago Essendon's third selection in the 2016 NAB AFL Draft Josh Begley had just finished playing for Upper Ferntree Gully in the Eastern Football League. 

The teenager was carrying too much weight to be considered for the Eastern Ranges but he was dominating at local level. 

Then those in the eastern region began to talk about how Begley's sharpshooting was too good to be confined to local football.

They spoke to the right people at the Eastern Ranges, who told Begley exactly what he needed to do to give himself a chance of making it at a higher level. 

He needed to go on a diet, hit the gym and start to shred some kilograms.

Begley didn't need to be told twice.

He kicked six goals on debut with Eastern Ranges, on his way to 27 goals for the season and all of a sudden he was in draft calculations.

The Bombers didn't mince words either when they met with Begley recently.

List manager Adrian Dodoro told the youngster he would need to shake another five kilograms off his frame if he joined the club to maximise the impressive tank the club knows he has under the bonnet.

"He knows that. We spoke to him not long ago," Dodoro said. 

But coming from what Dodoro describes as a terrific family and with former Essendon goalsneak and premiership player Darren Bewick, who coaches Eastern Ranges, advocating for Begley they considered him a chance.

"Darren Bewick virtually convinced me he would be a good pick for us," Dodoro joked.

"He emphasised how much upside this kid has got."

Essendon made his AFL aspirations real when it added him to the list with its third selection (overall pick No.31) alongside blue-chip No.1 pick Andrew McGrath and rangy defender Jordan Ridley. 

The Bombers then added Kobe Mutch and Begley's captain at the Eastern Ranges Dylan Clarke, meaning Begley will be in familiar territory with Clarke.