DEVEN Robertson wasn't going off the ground. It wasn't an option.
It was halfway through the second quarter of Western Australia's final round match of this year's NAB AFL Under-18 Championships, facing Vic Country at Marvel Stadium in a clash that would decide the title.
Robertson had steered his team throughout the national carnival, captaining the state and being its most consistent player through the midfield. A shoulder dislocation wasn't getting in the way of anything.
"I sublaxed my shoulder, so it popped out and went back in. I knew straight away that something wasn't right," Robertson told AFL.com.au.
"I didn't say anything to any of the doctors or physios because I was too scared they were going to hold me out of the game.
"Moving throughout the game it was fairly fine, there was lots of adrenaline going through my body, so I wasn't too bad."
>> The 2019 NAB AFL Draft runs from November 27-28. Follow all the latest news in the draft hub
The injury didn't impact Robertson's output, with the midfielder gathering 28 disposals, six clearances and eight tackles as his side claimed a win with the last kick of the game – sealing Western Australia's first title in a decade.
Two weeks later, after Robertson had claimed the Larke Medal as the best player in the championships and the under-18 All Australian captaincy following an average of 30 disposals and five clearances, he underwent season-ending shoulder surgery.
"To lead WA throughout the carnival was a huge honour, and to be able to bring the cup back home to WA for the first time in 10 years is so special for me and something I'll never forget," he said.
"The Larke Medal was really special for me and it's a huge honour. There's been some fantastic players win it over the last recent years and before that as well.
"I was just playing my role for the team and it just so happened to be that my role was winning a lot of the ball and getting it out to my teammates. So that's what I did."
He did it well enough to push himself into top-10 consideration.
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Fremantle is likely to consider Robertson with its dual first-round selections, as will Melbourne and Sydney, and he offers immediate leadership, grunt and ball-winning ability to a midfield.
The knock is on Robertson's kicking, and he doesn't have the same polish as other top-end prospects.
But his courage and consistency cover for that, having spent the off-season improving several key areas.
"The goal for me over the pre-season was to improve my fitness and a little bit of off-field stuff as well in regards to my diet. That set me up for the year hugely. I was feeling a lot better in the games and covering more ground, so it was a big pre-season," he said.
"It's satisfying and really good to get reward for a lot of hard work."
A club that won't get access to Robertson at this month's NAB AFL Draft is West Coast, which will enter the draft at pick No.46 after its monster Tim Kelly trade.
Robertson has close ties to the Eagles, the team he grew up barracking for and the club that was captained by his uncle, West Coast great Darren Glass.
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Glass recently departed Hawthorn as its assistant coach to take the reins as the Eagles’ new list manager, but Robertson hasn't discussed how their draft order is shaping up – and where he fits within it.
"He's 'Uncle Daz'. Growing up you idolise all these footy players and to have one in your family you can chat to, and someone you can see regularly, was amazing. He's been really influential for me," Robertson said.
"I haven't spoken to him too much about it. I don’t think he's got too much to do with this year's draft. Whatever happens, happens."