THIRD time could be a charm for Sam Menegola after the mature-age midfielder was selected by Geelong with pick No.66 in Tuesday's NAB AFL Draft.
The Cats become Menegola's third club after he spent four years on the rookie lists at Hawthorn (2011) and Fremantle (2012-14) without playing a single game.
Following his delisting from the Dockers at the end of 2014, Menegola, 23, joined Subiaco in the WAFL and produced a stunning individual season.
He missed the first 10 rounds of the year due to a serious ankle injury but on his return averaged 27 disposals and kicked 18 goals in the last 12 home and away matches of the season.
He finished third in the Sandover Medal, just four votes behind the winner Aidan Tropiano. In the 5-4-3-2-1 voting system, Menegola polled 41 votes, averaging 3.42 per game.
He starred in the finals series with 28 possessions and two goals in the semi-final and 30 touches and a goal in the Grand Final to cap off the year with a premiership.
Subiaco coach Jarrad Schofield, who played 206 AFL games with three clubs and played in Port Adelaide's 2004 premiership, said Menegola thoroughly deserved another opportunity at AFL level given his performances this season.
"Some guys develop at different rates and his level of professionalism and attitude and commitment to Subiaco in the last 12 months has been outstanding," told AFL.com.au.
"He's an ultimate professional in how he prepares himself and it was no surprise in how he came back after missing half a season with a serious ankle injury.
"To finish the year off the way he did and perform the way he did, it's a credit to him. I couldn't be any prouder of him to get back into the system."
Menegola has always been an elite runner and dominated the time trials at Fremantle during his time there. But injury issues at both the Hawks and Dockers hampered his progress and he struggled to find a niche.
Schofield said the time away from the AFL system had made Menegola a more rounded player.
"Twelve months out of the system enabled him to relieve the pressure on himself to succeed," Schofield said.
"I think what we've seen from Sam this year is his ability to play on the inside. I think previously as a young man he was more a half-forward flanker, winger-type player and was able to use his natural endurance to play his game and out-run people.
"But what he showed this year and what we probably hadn't seen in previous years at both Freo and Hawthorn is his ability to play as onballer. These days teams are going for that big-bodied onballer and he's able to do that."
Schofield also said Menegola had made major improvements to his kicking.
"I know there has been some question marks on his field kicking, but his kicking was sensational this year," Schofield said.
"He's a midfielder who kicked goals. In terms of him being ready, physically he definitely is, but mentally I do think he's ready to go and I think Geelong have picked up a nice little player there."