WHEN players start their AFL careers they often dream about being in the middle of the MCG at the end of a Grand Final with a premiership medal in their hands.

For Jedd Busslinger, a top-10 prospect at this year's draft, that is something he has already ticked off.

In 2012, Busslinger, then eight years old, was named the NAB AFL Auskicker of the Year – an award that has by some measure helped shape the next 10 years of his life, including this year as one of the best tall defenders in the draft crop.

It started with an online competition, with Busslinger's mum writing a 250-word entry on why he loved footy. Busslinger was selected as the round five nominee for the Auskicker of the Year, with Channel Seven commentator Luke Darcy going to his house in Perth to interview an enthusiastic Busslinger in full West Coast kit.

He was then flown to Melbourne for that year's Grand Final, where he presented the premiership medal to Swans champion Adam Goodes after the club's thrilling 10-point win.

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From star Auskicker to top draft prospect: Jedd's magic moment

Top draft prospect Jedd Busslinger presents Adam Goodes with his 2012 premiership medal

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"I was really fortunate to get Adam Goodes but if Sydney lost and Hawthorn won I was going to give the medal to Cyril Rioli so I was pretty lucky either way," Busslinger told AFL.com.au.

"I remember Goodes was really nice and said 'Thank you'. Being in the middle of the MCG after the game was a pretty awesome experience. I've seen the footage a fair few times when it pops up or a friend sends it to me which is pretty cool."

But it didn't stop there for Busslinger. As winner of the Auskicker award, he had Geelong star Joel Selwood as a mentor for a year. Selwood, with an ambassador role with NAB, caught up with the youngster several times through the year and the pair spoke often. One time, he even picked him up from school.

"I was in year four and that was pretty crazy. All the boys loved that," Busslinger said.

"He took me out for lunch and then we went for a kick but also whenever I was over in Melbourne we'd catch up. I'm really grateful for that experience and being able to message Joel that year.

"He still keeps in contact today and he converted me over from the Eagles pretty easily as an eight-year-old so I'm a Geelong fan now."

He last spoke to the Cats champion before playing on Grand Final day last year for Western Australia's state side at Optus Stadium, with Selwood remaining in contact with Busslinger throughout his teenage years.

Jedd Busslinger with Joel Selwood. Picture: Supplied

It should be no surprise then that when asked which top-level players he tries to mould his game on, Busslinger turns to the Cats.

"Tom Stewart has been a big one for me. Just his ability to intercept and play as freely as he does is something I watch but also Darcy Moore and his versatility," Busslinger said.

"He's an intercept defender and is really attacking so he's probably another one I look at a fair bit."

The East Perth product has shot up draft boards with his start to the season at colts level in Western Australia, averaging 24 disposals and eight marks in the opening month of the season. At 197cm Busslinger has shown he can peel off and help his fellow defenders and he uses the ball well when it is in his hands.

Jedd Busslinger in action during the U19 Championships match on September 25, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

On Saturday, he will line up for the NAB AFL Academy against Collingwood's VFL side at Frankston Oval in the highlight of the elite talent program.

"It's such a good opportunity to play for Australia, I've never done that before, so I'll remember that for the rest of my life. And also just to play alongside the top recognised players in this year's draft is really exciting," Busslinger said.

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The experience with Selwood has opened Busslinger's eyes to a potential move out of Western Australia at November's draft – "That's no issue for me," he said – and is still reaping the rewards. The $5000 prize he won as Auskicker of the Year is finally about to be spent.

"It was a pretty crazy amount of money for an eight-year-old," he said. "I haven't spent it yet. Since then I'd always say I'm saving for a car or a house so it's not quite a house but it's almost a car."