K rock Football

Tom Cat

Tom Atkins and friends celebrate his rookie drafting by Geelong. (krockfootball.coma.au Image/Al Packer)

TOM Atkins had stopped short of resigning himself to not realising his AFL dream – but he wasn’t hung up on chasing it either.

However, the 23-year-old is a step closer to making it a reality with the two-time Geelong VFL best-and-fairest selected with the Cats’ only pick in Friday’s Rookie Draft.

“I was just happy to play VFL, and if the opportunity came, of course I’d do it,” Atkins, who has played 53 games at VFL level for Geelong, said.

“I don’t think over the last two years I’ve got too hung up on it or thought “that’s it, I’m not going to be able to play AFL”.

“I just tried to play footy.”

Despite Geelong giving Atkins an indication of its interest in him, he says his reaction when his name appeared on the Draft Tracker was still one of “disbelief”.

“It’s hard to put into words because I wasn’t too sure if it was going to happen.

“When it happens, you’re really happy, and you’re happy for the people who are happy for you.

“I had a little bit of an indication, but you can never be too sure with these things because of the National Draft

“I was just hoping.”

Atkins, who joins the likes of Tom Stewart, Tom Ruggles and Timm House to be drafted in recent years after impressing at VFL level, is looking forward to taking advantage of devoting himself to football full-time.

He is well aware there are some areas of his game that he can improve.

“The main one will probably be my strength,” Atkins said. “When I was in the VFL, the weight program wasn’t as intensive as when you go to an AFL list.

“And certainly the endurance running aspect, and having every day to work on your weaknesses because you get such a limited time when you’re in the VFL.”


Twitter: @tom_king79

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