LAST week Cohuna footballer Flynn Appleby faced a nervous wait.
With his name in the AFL Rookie Draft, he had the chance to land his dream job — a spot on an AFL list.
At his parents’ farm, Appleby couldn’t stand the wait, and put in a day’s work.
On Monday, he milked the cows to take his mind off things.
On Tuesday, he started training at the biggest football club in Australia: Collingwood.
Appleby told The Riv the wait had been worth it.
‘‘It was a pretty crazy couple of hours there; I didn’t really know where I sat, so it was a pretty exciting moment for my family and myself.
‘‘During the day I was keeping myself pretty busy, I was milking the cows and just working on the farm trying to not think about it too much.
‘‘I worked until about a quarter to five and just sat down and tried to stay positive.
‘‘Obviously I was very hopeful, but nothing was a guarantee — I had enough interest to be hopeful but not enough to think it was a guarantee.
‘‘So I was just hoping it would work out, and thankfully it did; it’s been unreal.’’
Officially a Magpie a few minutes after 5pm, there was little time for Appleby to enjoy the news, as he was due at Collingwood bright and early the next morning.
‘‘It happened at about five o’clock — my phone was ringing non-stop for a while and I got a fair few messages as well,’’ he said.
‘‘You’re speaking with people you’ve idolised and grown up watching and you’re seeing their names pop up on your phone; I got some texts from Scott Pendlebury and those sort of blokes.
‘‘It’s quite amazing, especially being with your family for those first couple of hours. But I had to get myself sorted because I had to get down (to Melbourne) by 8.15am.
‘‘I stayed at home and spent the night with my family, and then got up pretty early at four o’clock to get down here.’’
Still getting settled in town, the 18-year-old enjoyed his first week getting a feel for the professional environment.
And surprisingly, he found a familiar face at the club in Leitchville’s Marty Hore,
Collingwood's VFL 2017 best and fairest winner.
‘‘We used to go to school together actually so it’s cool to have him there,’’ Appleby said.
‘‘I spoke to him before I went to the VFL and he’s been really helpful especially transitioning down and meeting new people. It’s nice to have some familiar faces down here because there aren’t too many of them as I’m still getting to know everyone.’’
Appleby grew up in Cohuna, before moving to Ballarat Clarendon College in year 10. His footy took off from there, a brilliant 2017 sealing progression to the AFL.
‘‘I played every game for the (Greater Western Victoria) Rebels and got to captain three of them,’’ he said. ‘‘I played a game of VFL through the year and I played a game for Cohuna as well, so it was a great year.’’
Thankful for his time playing with Cohuna, Appleby won’t forget what the club has done for him.
‘‘Obviously it’s a pretty successful club at the junior level. I got started with some really great people and I’ve got a lot of great mates back there,’’ he said.
‘‘We had some great success, played finals and won some grand finals so it was obviously great to grow up with that great club.
‘‘The club’s been great to me and offered some opportunities in the last couple of years for senior football as well. It’s great to get that exposure to bigger bodies; it’s a different game to playing under-18s footy.
But his biggest thank you was saved for his parents.
‘‘Obviously they’ve been very supportive with the move down to Ballarat and helped me with my schooling; I really couldn’t have had any better education,’’ he said.
‘‘Mum and Dad have been extremely supportive; they’ve done the Ks that’s for sure, trying to get down and watch my games and trainings, and I can’t thank them enough.’’