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Warney approves of ex-cricketer as new Pie

Jaidyn 'teared up' to be chosen by Pies Collingwood no.6 pick Jaidyn Stephenson is thrilled to be joining the club
No.6 draft pick Jaidyn Stephenson is already a proud Magpie - AFL,Jaidyn Stephenson,Draft,Collingwood Magpies,Nathan Murphy
No.6 draft pick Jaidyn Stephenson is already a proud Magpie
The heart issue actually came up when I was 16
Jaidyn Stephenson

CRICKET legend Shane Warne has given his tick of approval to Collingwood draftee Nathan Murphy

Murphy was tossing up whether he would pursue a cricket or football career until July. A wicketkeeper/batsman, he went to Brighton Grammar, the same school as Warne's son Jackson.

After being drafted by the Magpies at No.39, Warne gave Magpies president Eddie McGuire a call to say it was a smart decision to take Murphy.

"Eddie (McGuire) texted me and said that Shane Warne's rung him and said that it's a great get," Collingwood recruiting manager Derek Hine said.

Murphy is an athletic forward who thrives in the air.

Meanwhile, fellow draftee Jaidyn Stephenson is supremely confident a heart condition won't affect his football and is determined to repay the Collingwood's faith for selecting him at No.6.

Meanwhile, another of Gavin Brown's sons will don the black and white after Tyler Brown was drafted at No.50 as a father-son selection.

Port Adelaide tried to pinch Brown but the Magpies were quick to match the Power's bid.

The midfielder joins his brother Callum, who was drafted last year.

Clubs were alerted to an irregularity with Stephenson's heart in early October, throwing a cloud over where he would fall in the draft.

But the Magpies had no such concerns for the smooth Eastern Ranges midfielder, who had a brilliant 2017. 

"We've had experts from all around the world, as I'm sure other clubs have as well," Hine said.

"There's a little bit of hysteria around it all. We're really excited by it all and I know we've got a 10-year player that's going to be terrific for the footy club."

Stephenson, who Collingwood see as being a high half-forward capable of playing round one next year, revealed he knew about the condition since he was 16 years old but said the irregularity was not severe enough to cause him any serious worry.

"To be given the opportunity by the Collingwood Football Club is just amazing," Stephenson said.

"I'm not much of a crying person but I teared up.

"My grandparents support them, my mum supports them, so it's a surreal experience."

Stephenson was tipped to go anywhere from the top-five all the way down towards the end of the first round.

He zoomed onto recruiters' radars during the under-18 national championships with a five-goal haul against South Australia and was again brilliant in the Grand Final curtain-raiser with three goals.

Stephenson is quick – running a 2.95sec 20m sprint – has great skills by hand and foot and is a prolific goalkicker.

"The heart issue actually came up when I was 16. They (doctors) knew about it but I'm not really in a diagnosable area for the disease, or whatever it is. So they said 'you can play, no worries'," Stephenson said. 

"My sister also plays a high standard of sport and she was borderline as well. 

"I'm on some medication so I've just got to make sure I take that but also be careful about what I put in my own body, which could affect the condition. It certainly doesn't affect my performance in any way." 

Collingwood was the club that spoke to him the most before the draft and Stephenson revealed doubts about whether he might slip down the order.

"I thought with the heart thing we might scare clubs off but I was pretty confident that even if I was at pick No.30 or 40 or 50, someone would have taken me and given me an opportunity, and I would've paid it back," he said.

Despite impressive poise and agility, Brown has plenty of development to go and was no certainty to join his brother.

"With Tyler, it was a completely different equation to Cal. We'd certainly explained to him that if a club had come a little bit earlier than we rated him, we wouldn't be able to select him," Hine said.

 

 

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