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LIKELY top five draft prospect Peter Wright felt the eyes trained on him.
In Wright's mind, the young forward who shaped as a possible No.1 draft pick at the beginning of the season, the recruiters were monitoring his every move.
The all-consuming feeling was gnawing away him, until a frank conversation with Calder Cannons talent manager Ian Kyte set him straight.
"I put as much pressure on myself as everyone else," Wright told AFL.com.au.
"But earlier in the season I was battling with it too much.
"I was looking into the media and what was being said and that was influencing how I was playing."
Wright was safe to assume people were watching him.
Along with Geelong Falcons forward Patrick McCartin, the 203cm, 102kg key forward is considered the best key position prospect in this year's draft crop.
Wright can play centre-half forward, where he feels like he is most suited. He can play deep forward where he has had success. But he can also step into the ruck and motor up and down the ground with great fluidity.
The 18-year-old can run a 14.5 beep test and has clocked a time of three seconds flat over 20m.
That is seriously good going for a player who has already drawn comparisons to St Kilda champion Nick Riewoldt.
After a relatively quiet patch at the start of the year, Wright started to hit his straps ahead of the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships in July.
The Cannons planned it that way, ensuring he would peak at the right time.
A 'Jake Carlisle' type game, in which Wright gathered 29 disposals, took 14 marks and booted four goals in the last game of the TAC Cup season, confirmed the young forward's standing in the draft.
Carlisle produced a similar game in 2009 for the Cannons when he had 36 disposals, 18 marks and five goals in one of the most dominant individual displays Kyte has seen.
"He's very conscious of his own performance," Kyte said of Wright.
"But I think he's matured a lot.
"That's probably another area that we've had to really work with him at."
Who were the top performers at this year's NAB AFL Draft Combine?
Wright has a naturally reserved personality. He doesn't seek the limelight, but rather the limelight seems to follow him.
Kyte urged Wright to throw his weight around, give his opponents some lip and exude more confidence out on the field.
"Some people might say you see that confidence too much in other people," Kyte said.
"But out on the footy ground you can become a bit more like that."
Wright went through the disappointment of missing Calder's Grand Final loss to the Oakleigh Chargers, having been ruled out after injuring his knee in the previous week's preliminary final against the Dandenong Stingrays.
Those at the ground describe it as a "horrible" looking injury and, after an initial reassuring sideline examination by Cannons doctor David Bolzonello, an MRI scan was arranged for the next day.
WATCH: The knee injury that looked a lot worse than it actually was.
Fearing the worst when he visited orthopaedic surgeon Hayden Morris, Wright was relieved to find the scan revealed a popliteus muscle tear and a minor sprain of ligaments behind the knee.
A popliteus tear can happen when the knee is bent against resistance while the lower leg or tibia bone is rotated outwards.
Wright's injury was a classic case and Morris was shocked the young forward had escaped without any anterior cruciate ligament damage.
"How he didn't snap everything, I don't know?" Kyte said.
Frustratingly he was unable to participate in any testing at last week's NAB AFL Draft Combine and had to settle for a series of meetings with a range of clubs.
Wright is now two to three weeks away from being back to 100 per cent fit and will begin to ramp up his preparation ahead of November's draft.
Kyte believes Wright will thrive in an AFL environment, given he already has a solid base underneath him.
"Once he gets on to an AFL type training program, he's going to be a monster," Kyte said.