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Saturday, November 10, 2018

AFL Draft 2018: Damon Greaves blossoms on both feet

When Damon Greaves was playing junior football, his dad Gavin used to offer him 50 cents for every left foot kick he attempted.
Greaves says he didn’t get rich from the motivational tool, but it has meant the half back is capable on both feet.
“I suppose it’s always been a strength, my kicking,” Greaves said.
“My left is not as strong as my right but it’s something I’ve brought into my game because I got into the habit from a young age.”
At 186cm, Greaves can play on medium and small forwards and found himself matched up on gun South Australians Izak Rankine and Connor Rozee, amongst others, during this year’s under-18s championships.
Rankine and Rozee are expected to be snapped up in the first 10 selections of the AFL national draft, which begins on November 22.
Greaves, 18, knows he’ll almost certainly have to wait until the second day when every pick after the first round will be taken.
He has also had to prepare himself for the prospect that it might not happen for him at all this year.
But he doesn’t have to look far for inspiration in the form of Fremantle’s Bailey Banfield, who is a family friend from the Greaves’ time in Broome.
“I’ve seen what he has done and transitioned into an AFL system (after missing out the year before) and I admire and look up to him,” Greaves said. “I’ll just keep training hard, stick with East Perth, stick with my footy if I don’t get drafted.”
The self-confessed footy head has been interviewed by 11 clubs, including both WA teams.
He has closely watched the likes of Brad Sheppard and Jarrad McVeigh but takes cues from plenty of players across the league.
Being a country kid has helped Greaves on the field and off it, with the family moving around with Gavin’s job with Clontarf.
The Fremantle supporter played much of his football in Busselton before transitioning into the East Perth colts.
“It’s a bit different in the country,” Greaves said. “Sometimes you are playing two or three games on a weekend and that sort of stuff.
“I think I’d be able to deal with it (moving interstate). I’ve moved around a fair bit through my childhood. I’m building new friendships and going to new schools.
“I always dreamed of playing AFL from a young age. When I made the 18s last year, the year I had last year was probably where it did come a bit more realistic.
“It’s definitely a nervous time. An exciting time as well. Hopefully it works out and I get that opportunity.”