Walsh becomes a Blue

Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 3:01 PM

THE AFL dream of Peel youngster Brad Walsh has been realised, after the midfielder was snared up by Carlton with pick 24 in the NAB AFL Rookie Draft on Wednesday.

The Rockingham product has been hailed as a ready-made leader by Carlton’s National Recruiting Manager Shane Rogers, after leading WA’s under-18s side this year at the National Championships, the AIS-AFL Academy on the European tour, and also WA’s under-16s to a championship in 2012.

Walsh said following the disappointment of missing out in last week’s National Draft, he had little idea Carlton would call out his name during the rookie draft.

“It’s been pretty nerve-wracking, the last few years have come down to this moment, so I was pretty devastated last week but stayed optimistic and it’s paid off in the end,” Walsh said.

“I had no idea Carlton were looking at me, I had an interview with them earlier this year but I hadn’t had much contact in the lead-up so it was a surprise.”

Rogers said leadership qualities were just one of Walsh’s many attributes.

“Brad is one of those kids who would go to war and die for you,” Rogers said.

“He’s a big-bodied midfielder with an exceptional work rate and will fit straight into our team.”

Walsh joins a list packed with some of the AFL’s most complete midfielders, headlined by dual Brownlow Medallist Chris Judd, skipper Marc Murphy and reigning John Nicholls Medallist Bryce Gibbs.

“I just want to go over there and absorb as much as I can [from those players], they are absolute superstars and I will probably be a little star-struck at the start, but I just want to learn as much as I can.”

Peel Football Manager Andrew McBean said Walsh’s entry into the AFL system was indicative of the club’s strong development system.

“He’s fairly diligent at training, goes about his business professionally and it shows what can happen when you put all your eggs in the one basket,” he said.

“We look at Brad as a template for those within the system, so they can see the rewards of hard work and professionalism.”

Already armed with impressive professionalism and work ethic courtesy of his time in the AIS-AFL Academy this year, Walsh is primed to hit his first AFL pre-season hard.

“I have to work and prove myself, so stay in the right mindset and work as hard as I can,” he said. 

“The pathway and AIS programs have been a real help for me in order to help make the huge step up, so I think I have an understanding of what it’s going to be like.”

Walsh has already been welcomed into the club by fellow WA draftee Blaine Boekhorst, who is a good friend of Walsh’s stepbrother.

But aside from a quick round of golf with his Dad, Walsh has little time to collect his thoughts, as he was on the plane to Melbourne less than 24 hours after becoming a Blue.