NEW PORT Adelaide forward Mitch Georgiades is the bolter of the 2019 NAB AFL Draft, selected with pick No.18 despite missing the entire year with a quad injury.
The West Australian product wasn't even invited to the first night of the draft, but some inside intel from current Port assistant and Georgiades' former coach at WAFL club Subiaco, Jarrad Schofield, helped get him over the line.
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Georgiades, 18, had a strong 2018 season as a bottom-ager, playing in all four NAB AFL Under-18 Championship matches for his state.
Now fully recovered from his quad injury, the 191cm Georgiades already has a connection to League footy: his dad John kicked eight goals on debut for the Western Bulldogs against Carlton in 1989.
Georgiades' quad troubles started back in the Under-17 NAB All Stars Futures game on Grand Final day in 2018 with a simple corkie.
Georgiades celebrates a goal in the 2018 NAB All Stars Futures game. Picture: AFL Photos
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After a family holiday in Bali, his quad was feeling increasingly painful, and it eventuated the blood in the area had calcified, mimicking a bone and causing trouble for the bloodstream in his leg.
It had also caused a hematoma and resulted in three separate surgeries, ruling him out for the entirety of the 2019 football season.
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"We tracked Mitch obviously last year, then he gets injured and doesn't play, so it's a bit of an unknown for a lot of people who heard his name mentioned," Port Adelaide head of recruiting Geoff Parker said.
"Obviously, he's a Subiaco boy, Jarrad Schofield coached Subiaco last year … so we spoke to the (current) coach of Subiaco as well. We did a lot of background information on him.
"He turned up at the Combine in ripping physical condition, he tested really strongly, his interview was fantastic, we showed some vision to [coach Ken Hinkley and veteran Robbie Gray] and they couldn't be more excited to have him come to the club."
Georgiades tests at the NAB AFL Draft Combine in October. Picture: AFL Photos
Parker said Georgiades is fully over his quad injury and will be right to go in round one.
"It's not a great injury to look at, but it's not like it's uncommon, it's happened to other people. He had a corkie, it calcified and a little bit broke off and bled through the leg.
"It sounds a lot worse than it actually is, our doctors were quite comfortable with the way it's all healed and they were really impressed with the way he physically turned up at the Combine.
"He did his rehab and trained through the year. Towards the end of the year, Subiaco inquired with the WAFL Commission whether they could pick him for the finals, but because he hadn't played, they said no."
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Western Australia Football Commission state talent manager Adam Jones told AFL.com.au Georgiades was a third tall in the mould of Jack Gunston or Adelaide's Tom Lynch.
Georgiades in action for WA at the 2018 NAB AFL U18 Championships. Picture: AFL Photos
"He's got outstanding character. He's an intelligent kid, aiming for 98 ATAR. He's a prefect at Hale School. He took the injury this year in his stride. Showed terrific resilience and drive and just a really well-balanced character," Jones said.
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The Power have the first pick in Thursday's portion of the draft, No.22, after a pick swap with Carlton.
"We've got a group of players we still like, so we knew with the first pick tomorrow we could pick who we want," Parker said.
"Also sliding back gives us some points to match the (father-son) Jackson Mead bid and also with picks for next year.
"We've taken a couple of phone calls as to whether we want to trade it already. There's also a few players who we really like who are sitting there, so we're in a really good spot for tomorrow night."