JUST seven weeks ago, Patrick McKenna captained the Australian under-19s cricket side in a one-day international series in Sri Lanka.
Last Thursday night he became a professional AFL footballer after being drafted by Greater Western Sydney.
In one of the major shocks of the 2014 NAB AFL draft, the talented 18-year-old from Gisborne was taken with pick No.23 by the Giants.
McKenna did not play in the TAC Cup, instead playing for Gisborne in the Bendigo Football League where he kicked 45 goals in 18 senior matches after bagging a remarkable 16 majors in his only under 18s appearance this season.
Gisborne senior coach Rod Sharp said it was not a surprise McKenna had been drafted, but it was a shock that he went so high.
"Probably the surprise was the (pick) number," Sharp said.
"I think inside the club we were pretty confident that he'd get picked up."
Sharp was staggered by McKenna's development in a short period of time this year. He missed all of Gisborne's pre-season, as cricket was his major focus.
McKenna played a Cricket Australia Futures League match for Victoria against ACT at Manuka Oval in February.
"Pat's development in a very short period of time this year was just dramatic," Sharp said.
"He turned up two weeks before the season started with no pre-season and played one game in the under-18s, and as everyone knows he kicked 16 goals in that game, and then obviously came straight up into senior footy.
"His first half of the year was good, with maybe one or two outstanding games and then his second half of the year he just learnt so much out of six to eight games of footy. He put it all together in the last two months including our finals.
"He was just the complete mature footballer and one of the major players in our finals series."
McKenna is only 186cm and 76kg but Sharp said his football smarts and his elite overhead marking were what attracted the attention of recruiters from GWS, Hawthorn and Melbourne, who all travelled to watch him play throughout the season.
"Pat's got an amazing football brain," Sharpe said.
"He basically played full forward with a license to go play down back or on-ball. Almost wherever we needed a problem fixed, Pat was the player that we ended up using as that utility. He's very versatile and his brain is probably the thing that I'm excited to see how he goes at that level because h maybe doesn't have the speed, but what he has is that anticipation in reading the footy."
Sharp said it was a great boost for the club and the Bendigo Football League to prove that it could develop players to be drafted into the AFL system. McKenna and fellow draftee Matthew Goodyear (drafted to Collingwood with pick No.48) join Brent Reilly, Ryan Crowley and Jono O'Rourke as AFL listed players from Gisborne.
It can easily be said that McKenna is another win for football over cricket, but Cricket Victoria's talent manager and chairman of selectors Andrew Lynch felt that was not the case.
"We've tried to keep both options open to him to give him every opportunity to enjoy his cricket," Lynch said.
"We couldn't be more pleased that he chose to go in the draft and clearly at this stage he wants to follow his football dream."
Lynch said the door remained open for McKenna to return to cricket at any stage and he believes the fight for talent between football and cricket is not as pronounced as it is sometimes made out to be.
"There's not a lot of players we come across that are good enough at both sports where the issue arises," Lynch said.
"It's only a really, really small sample."