ESSENDON has pinched exciting small forward Irving Mosquito from Hawthorn's grasp, securing the Hawks' next generation academy prospect with pick No.38 in the 2018 NAB AFL Draft.
Hawthorn had first priority on the NGA prospect under AFL rules, but decided to baulk at the price of bringing the raw small forward into its club.
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The Hawks would have had to give up picks 49 and 91 to claim Mosquito and then would have welcomed pick No.72 back into its possession.
However, they became the first club to pass on an NGA prospect this year.
Bombers list manager Adrian Dodoro said the Bombers saw a lot of similarities between Mosquito and another fellow electric small forward on their list, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti.
"We've had a lot of success out of Gippsland with McDonald-Tipungwuti and there's a lot of similarities and traits with that young man (Mosquito)," Dodoro said.
"He's got a lot of ability and we had him at Essendon this morning with his family and he grew up barracking for the club which is a bonus as well so we're really happy that he got to us."
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Dodoro said the Bombers rated Mosquito even higher than where he ended up being positioned, but would not be drawn into commenting on why the Hawks passed on the small forward.
"I'm not too sure what their thinking was but for us it was the way we valued the draft and where we saw the boy. We put our cards on the table and fortunately it fell our way," Dodoro said.
Dodoro was clearly elated by how things played out, with host broadcaster Fox Footy showing vision of him outwardly fist pumping once it was announced Hawthorn had passed Mosquito up.
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"I've got a habit of doing some silly things, so I regret that," Dodoro said with a laugh.
An indigenous small forward with an electric turn of speed and savvy goal sense, Mosquito missed this year's NAB AFL Under-18 Championships due to injury.
However the livewire 175cm forward finished the season strongly for Gippsland Power, with his speed and evasiveness bringing 14 goals from 14 games – while averaging a tick under 13 disposals – in the TAC Cup this season.
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Mosquito hails from Halls Creek, which is almost 700km inland of Broome in the Kimberly region of Western Australia.
He left for Victoria when he was just 11 years old, travelling with guardians Mick and Shane Roberts to Briagolong, in Gippsland (east of Melbourne), to further his education.
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Mosquito trained with Hawthorn earlier in the year and had the chance to test himself against his hero and the player he models himself on – the retired Cyril Rioli.
Mosquito has earned comparisons to Rioli in that respect with his chasing and tackling pressure a key feature of his game. He also happens to be a left-footer with a penetrating kick.
The Bombers selected key forward Noah Gown with pick No.60 and then nabbed Brayden Ham with selection No.72.
Gown finished third in the TAC Cup goalkicking with 31 goals from 18 games, while Ham displayed his ability in front of goals for the Geelong Falcons as a 19-year-old.
"Noah had a terrific second half of the year and he's a natural goalkicker with a basketball background. He's a young man who has a heap of upside and we don't know what his ceiling is yet," Dodoro said of Gown.
Falcons talent manager Michael Turner pushed the idea of selecting Ham to Dodoro.
"Mick Turner's a massive rap of him, so cheerio to Mick because he pushed him pretty hard to us," Dodoro said.
"Brayden's an exciting player who can play at either end of the ground … but he's got all the attributes to make a really good outside mid for us."