YOU WOULD have heard a lot about Matt Rowell by now, but here's three things you might not know about the likely No.1 draft pick: he loves gardening, he listens to The Veronicas before games and he collects footballs.
The third point wouldn't surprise too much, given he has barely been sighted without the ball in his hands this year, in what has been one of the most complete and consistent under-18 seasons in recent memory.
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But the extent of his collection goes further than you might think.
"I'm up to about 25 Sherrins at home now," he told AFL.com.au. "The collection started in year six, and I couldn't really stop getting them. You can never have enough."
Rowell couldn't get enough of the ball this year, either. He averaged 33 disposals and eight clearances for the Oakleigh Chargers in the NAB League, and 25 touches for Vic Metro during the carnival.
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He didn't play a bad game all season, leading the Chargers to their premiership win (he claimed best afield honours in the Grand Final for the second year running), helped steer his school Carey Grammar to a flag and was an All Australian for his under-18 championships.
All of which is set to lead him to Gold Coast as the Suns' No.1 pick next Wednesday night when the first round of the NAB AFL Draft is held at Marvel Stadium.
But let's get back to the things you might not know about Rowell, including his green thumb.
His love for the outdoors started at an early age, and has grown so much that if he wasn't on the cusp of an AFL career, he thinks he would have pursued gardening.
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"I like my gardening, I get outdoors in the front and back yard a lot. I've planted some roses, gardenias, camellias, so it's one of my big hobbies outside of footy," he said.
His close mate Noah Anderson – and likely to be the No.2 pick to the Suns next week and join Rowell in Queensland – gave Rowell a Blue Moon rose for his 16th birthday present.
Anderson says Rowell has loosened up in recent times, managing to separate his on and off-field pursuits. That maybe – perhaps – explains the choice of the violin-inspired Untouched by Australian sister act The Veronicas as Rowell's pre-game pump up song.
"I'm pretty relaxed outside of footy but once I get out onto the field I'm pretty intense and I'm in the zone," the 18-year-old said.
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Rowell idolises Geelong champion Joel Selwood and has won plaudits for playing in a similarly uncompromising manner: he's tough, powerful, strong, consistent, durable and stands up when his team needs him and in every big game.
Half of Rowell's possessions this year were won in contested situations, and he says that comes down to one thing.
"The main thing is the mindset of wanting to win the ball more than your opponent. You've got to have good body positioning, which you learn about at training, but the mindset is probably the key thing and wanting to win the ball more than anyone else," he said.
"I try to pride myself on consistency and making sure I generally play reasonably well, even when I'm having not a great day – I still want to play at a good standard at least."
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Recruiters have been wowed by Rowell's level of performance, and he carried that through to the NAB AFL Draft Combine, where his athletic traits showed out. He was in the top performers for the endurance tests (level 21.3 in the Yo-Yo and 6:17 minutes for the 2km time trial) and he ran 3.05 seconds in the 20-metre sprint.
"It would be a massive honour to go pick No.1. I've worked reasonably hard to give myself a chance to get where I am now, so it would be something that I've worked hard towards for a while," he said.
"If I was lucky enough to get picked up by the Suns I'd really enjoy it.
"The interviews I've had with them have been very positive, they've involved my family really well and that's a big thing for me. I think I'd enjoy the opportunity and take it head on."
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Barring injury, Rowell will be expected – and expecting – to have an impact at AFL level immediately in 2020. He's also committed to maintaining his trademark tucked in jumper throughout his AFL career, having grown fond of the look over the years.
"It started a long while ago. I tucked my shirt in when I was playing for the Canterbury Cobras. It's always been a thing that I've done naturally, and some of my coaches have said it's actually a good idea because it makes you harder to tackle. I've gone with it ever since," he said.
"There's not many who do it. I reckon it's a good look, to be honest. A bit of the old style, I reckon it suits."