Colac product Cooper Stephens says starting life as an AFL footballer at home in Geelong was the cherry on top after his childhood dream came true.
The Cats called Stephens’ name out with their first selection during Wednesday night’s national draft, which made the former Colac Tiger our highest pick since Darcy Lang, who is now at Carlton, also went to Geelong at pick 16 back in 2013.
Stephens watched the draft at his new home down the highway at Geelong with his mum Mandy, sisters Riley and Kassidy, dad Dwayne and Dwayne’s partner Di.
The 18-year-old made the move to Geelong after graduating from Trinity College Colac last year.
Stephens said the luxury of not having to relocate to a new state or city during the early stages of his AFL career made the step into the elite level less daunting.
“I just spent the night with my family, it was a great moment to share and I’m so grateful they could be there,” he said yesterday.
“We were just in Geelong; mum came down from Colac with my sisters and dad was there with his partner and we watched it on TV.
“I think it’s a huge advantage to stay in Geelong, it’ll make the transition a lot easier and I’ll have my family and friends to rely on if I need them there, and I’ll be a lot more comfortable, because I know the town and people around the club.
“I think it’ll be an easier transition and hopefully that can lead me to playing good football early next year.”
Stephens, a big-bodied midfielder who had his 2019 campaign cut short after breaking his leg for the Geelong Falcons back in April, said he had no indication from Geelong recruiters they would select him with their first pick.
See today’s Colac Herald for more.