TEENAGE mid-season draft prospect Mitch Riordan stood up in front of his Dandenong Stingrays peers last week and spoke about regret.

But before knowing about what, you need to understand his background.

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Riordan, an inside midfielder capable of bursting away from stoppages, started the 2018 season with one goal in mind: to be an AFL footballer by November. 

There was even optimistic talk inside the Stingrays camp that the now 19-year-old might end up being a first or second-round draft pick.

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Instead, Riordan suffered a significant hamstring injury at the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships, then returned late in the season as not quite the same player and went undrafted.

Before that sledgehammer-like news, he still made a good contribution to Dandenong winning the last TAC Cup premiership before its rebranding this year to the NAB League. 

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But a "pretty dark" period followed, Stingrays talent manager Darren Flanigan told AFL.com.au. 

"He's a well-organised, well-structured young man with his head screwed on well," Flanigan said of Riordan. 

"One of the things (coach) Nick Cox does is get a kid up with an interesting story of rejection.

"'Riordo' spoke about what he would do differently. Last year he was in Year 12 and it was his 18th year, so there was a lot going on, but he forgot to look at the bigger picture.

"He was concentrating on his studies and footy and he missed a few things, so one of the things he spoke about was he would probably have sat back and enjoyed it more than he did." 

Riordan struggled mentally with his football rejection, but has picked himself up off the floor, returned to Dandenong as an 'over-ager' and started an applied science course at university. 

He is averaging 19.7 disposals – including amassing 48 possessions across his past two games – five inside 50s and 4.7 tackles in the NAB League in 2019. 

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Riordan's "fantastic" form, in Flanigan's words, has helped renew AFL interest in him, with Adelaide and Sydney believed to be among his potential suitors. 

He was one of 25 NAB AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft hopefuls to be medically assessed on Wednesday, as per request from multiple AFL clubs. 

"The good thing at uni is 99 per cent of the populus wouldn't know who he is, whereas at school everyone knew him and he was constantly reminded he was playing footy at a higher level," Flanigan said.

"He's gone through a pretty dark spot after not getting picked up, but he's worked his way back into contention – he's a good story of persistence.

"You can turn it around in six months, like Mitch has, so it's not the end of the world if you don't get picked up as an 18-year-old." 

The 2019 NAB AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft will be broadcast LIVE on AFL.com.au, the AFL Live Official App and Fox Footy from 6.30pm AEST on Monday, May 27