BRODIE Kemp has made no secret of the fact, he looks up to Carlton superstar Patrick Cripps.
Now he will have the opportunity to learn from Cripps close up, after he was selected by the Blues with pick 17 in the AFL national draft.
His arrival at Ikon Park comes despite the Blues trading down to pick 17, after entering the draft with pick 10.
Kemp had long been touted as a first-round selection despite missing the later stages of 2019 after suffering serious knee injury while playing for Geelong Grammar.
But any nerves he had were put to bed when his name was called by AFL Chief Executive Officer Gil McLachlan.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to be drafted by Carlton,” he said.
“I’ve been following the Blues for a couple of years now and the progress they have made is really exciting.
“The future looks extremely bright and I can’t wait to add something to the club.
“They’re primed to do something special in the coming years and hopefully I’m out on the ground to help them achieve it.”
Cripps is regarded as one of the best players in the competition, and Kemp says he can't wait to get to work with the Blues co-captain.
“It’s still pretty surreal at the moment that I’m going to have the opportunity to play alongside him,” he said.
“Over his career he has shown what he can and to be able to learn off him is going to be an amazing experience.
“It’s definitely something I’m looking forward to over the next few years.”
Since injuring his knee, Carlton co-captain Sam Docherty has been in regular contact with the former Murray Bomber but now he will have the opportunity to work with him on a daily basis.
“He’s been super for me the past several months but to have him alongside me every day is a real bonus,” Kemp said.
“He went to Philadelphia to learn a bit more about his injury and that s certainly going to help me in my recovery.
“It’s a long-term process but to have someone who can help you is something I can’t take for granted.”
General Manager of List Management and Strategy Stephen Silvagni said Kemp's arrival was a major milestone for the Blues.
“Brodie is someone who has clearly shown how damaging he can be all throughout the underage career, whether it be down back, in the midfield or up forward,” Silvagni told carltonfc.com.au.
“He started out as a defender, had a real impact as an inside midfield and then ended up being named as the full forward in the All-Australian team.
“Brodie has some real upside in his game and, with the amount of work our recruiting team has put in, we’re very confident we’ve added some real quality to our football club.
“We had Brodie train with us in pre-season as part of the AFL Academy, so we know the calibre of player and person that we’re getting.
“We obviously made the trade where we split our picks because we’re really optimistic about the quality and depth of this draft. We were thrilled that Brodie was still available at our pick and we’re really confident with our position leading into night two of the draft.
“We couldn’t be more confident about his recovery from his knee injury: we think our supporters will be really excited by what he can offer for years to come.”
As expected, Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson filled the top two selections after they joined the Gold Coast Suns.
Shepparton’s Lachie Ash has also found a new footballing home after he joined 2019 grand finalists the GWS Giants.
Kemp was joined by fellow Bendigo Pioneer Thomson Dow as a first round selection after he joined Richmond.