AFL 2021: The huge secret AFL draftee Josh Fahey had to keep

Marc McGowanNCA NewsWire
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Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: News Corp Australia

Josh Fahey knew about a month ago he would be a Giant – but the 15 seconds after it became official were the hardest to keep the news quiet.

Greater Western Sydney’s latest Academy graduate was part of broadcaster Fox Footy’s Zoom coverage and heard the Giants had matched the Western Bulldogs’ bid on him at No. 42.

The problem was the short TV delay meant Fahey had to keep his overflowing emotions in check for a little longer to not give his special moment away.

“When my name was called out, all my mates said they didn’t want me to tell them, so I had to try to hold in the emotions for 15 seconds,” he said.

“I just wanted to let it all out but it was pretty good. Obviously, you saw the reaction.”

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Little about Fahey’s journey to the AFL big time was straightforward, starting with growing up in rugby league heartland in Canberra and playing for the Queanbeyan Tigers.

There was also his three-month detour and two games for the Suns Academy after his dad relocated to the Gold Coast for work in January last year.

That period created some uncertainty about whether Fahey would still qualify as a Giants Academy player for AFL draft reasons after he returned to Canberra.

League officials ticked off his eligibility before he rubber-stamped his credentials with a best-on-ground performance in a losing cause for the AFL Academy against Geelong’s VFL team.

AFL Future Stars
Camera IconFahey is bound for Sydney’s west. Pic: Michael Klein Credit: News Corp Australia

From then on it was really just a matter of where he would land in the draft and if GWS would match any opposition bid that came.

“We did have talks that after pick 11 they would have enough points to match (any bid) after that, so I wasn’t too worried about them matching,” Fahey said.

“I was just worried about when the bid would come because I got told it was mid-20s, then early 30s and it didn’t end up being until 42.

“But at the end of the day, you get the same opportunities as the No. 1 would, so it worked out well.”

Fahey can’t wait to start training on Monday and is even daring to dream about a senior debut at Canberra’s Manuka Oval.

“To come back to Canberra and play where I grew up and have the home crowd here at Manuka – it’s something I’ve always dreamt of,” he said.

“Hopefully, I get that opportunity next year.”

Originally published as AFL 2021: The huge secret AFL draftee Josh Fahey had to keep

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