IT WAS a question that West Coast and Fremantle had been keen to ask Josh Goater.
'How would you feel about moving to Western Australia?'
Goater, the highly rated Calder Cannons and Vic Metro prospect, has been edging up draft boards this season following a campaign where the 190cm youngster has made a successful switch into a full-time midfielder.
A nice balance of inside-outside work in his newfound onball role has some recruiters of the belief that Goater is a top-10 talent in this year's NAB AFL Draft crop, with his versatility both behind and forward of the ball only adding to his improving skillset.
The Eagles and the Dockers have extra reason to take note of Goater's rapid development, given his father David is a born and bred West Australian who played WAFL footy for East Perth as a youngster.
It's led to intrigue as to whether either will pull the trigger on Goater next month, with West Coast currently in possession of pick No.10 to potentially snag the wiry ball-winner and Fremantle holding picks No.6, 8 and 19 following a busy Trade Period.
"They've definitely brought it up in the interviews that I've had with them," Goater told AFL.com.au of the interest coming from the Eagles and the Dockers.
"I do have family over in WA, so it's obviously something that I wouldn't shy away from and I'd be more than willing to move across. I'd be happy with any club that would be interested in taking me at the draft, so I wouldn't shy away from going to WA. I'd be willing to do whatever."
The distinctly West Australian upbringing of his father has shaped Goater's childhood as a mad North Melbourne fan, with his dad hailing from the same town as four-time WAFL premiership player and three-time Sandover Medal winner Barry Cable.
When the legendary Cable made the switch from Perth to North Melbourne in the 1970s, so did Goater's father. From then on, he had little say in what team he followed. "I wouldn't be living in the same house as my dad if I didn't go for North Melbourne," he laughed.
Always a tall kid, Goater played centre-half forward in his younger days and idolised Drew Petrie. But it's as a rangy, prolific midfielder where AFL clubs believe he will develop at the next level following a standout top-age season of junior footy.
"It was definitely a learning curve for me this year, to go into that midfield role having not played it throughout my footy career," Goater said.
"I played little spurts in there, but never heaps. I really enjoyed the challenge of it. The coaches down at the Cannons were a massive help, then going into that Vic Metro team and getting the opportunity to play midfield and show the attributes that I do have … I think it was really good for my footy.
"I really enjoyed the experience of playing midfield and hopefully I can keep developing that and push into becoming an AFL midfielder."
According to Champion Data, Goater averaged 24.5 disposals and 8.0 clearances in two trial matches with Vic Metro earlier this year. It complemented a NAB League campaign where he went at 21.6 disposals and 5.2 clearances per match playing through the midfield.
But standing at 190cm and just as capable of using his line-breaking speed and aerial prowess behind the ball, Goater equally impressed across half-back. In his last three games with the Cannons, all played in defence, he averaged 30.5 disposals, 4.0 intercept marks and 8.5 intercept possessions.
"It was something I'd always wanted to develop within my football, to become a taller and bigger-bodied midfielder," Goater said.
"I feel like I've got the athletic attributes to be in the midfield of any team. I can use the bigger size to my advantage and now I just want to keep developing that. I've always wanted to be that type of midfielder.
"When I'm not in the midfield I feel as though half-back is a really good position for me, because I can use my foot skills as well as my pace to break away from that congestion and I can also lock down on my opponent.
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"I feel as though I can use those attributes within my game and I feel like I can read the game very well from the defensive side of the ground … being able to break the game open, as well as being able to use my leg speed and overhead marking to be that type of intercept player."
Goater has also been trialled at half-forward during different stages of the year, most notably when he made his VFL debut with Essendon after a successful month-long training stint with the club's reserves side.
He finished with seven disposals, four marks and a goal in the 15-point win over Frankston, another proud moment for the family after his older brother Luke had earned a VFL contract with Footscray.
Having never played as teammates, the brothers also strapped on the boots together during four games with Sunbury's senior side earlier this year. Such experiences have only enhanced Goater's understanding of what it will take at the next level.
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"It was really good to play footy with my brother for the very first time and get the experience of playing against the bigger bodies. It's definitely developed my footy a lot and I took a lot out of it," Goater said.
"Playing VFL was a grouse experience as well. To go down to Essendon and train with them for about a month, as well as being lucky enough to play a game with them … it was a really good experience to play at that level.
"There were AFL-listed players in the game and it was really good. It was massive for my development to play against those senior boys and get the feel of what it's like to be at that level, where I need to be in the coming stages of my career if I want to be a good AFL footballer."
Josh Goater and his fellow draft prospects from Hemisphere Management will be taking part in this year's Movember fundraiser. Click here to donate.