Sport

AFL in sights of Sandover medalist

In 2014, Aidan Tropiano was struggling to get a game in East Fremantle’s West Australian Football League side.

At 21, his dream of playing in the Australian Football League was slowly slipping away.

When the Perth Demons approached him midway through 2014, he decided to swap his blue and white colours for red and black.

One year later, at just 22 years of age, he won Perth’s best and fairest as well as the prestigious Sandover Medal for the WAFL’s best player.

Now he goes in to next month’s AFL draft with a realistic chance of being picked up.

Coming off a breakout 2015 season where he averaged 32.5 disposals from 20 games, Tropiano is optimistic about his draft chances.

“I think there’s a very good opportunity this year because the draft of the younger kids is quite weak,” Tropiano says.

“The fingers are crossed but I’m not going to think about it.

“I’m just going to go about everyday life.”

The 23-year-old, originally from Geraldton, says he is confident he is ready to step up to AFL level if given the opportunity.

“Inside I definitely know that I have the ability and the mind to succeed at that level,” Tropiano says.

Demons CEO, and 266 game WAFL veteran, Marty Atkins says Tropiano is without doubt worthy of an opportunity.

“I would definitely take him,” Atkins says.

“Every challenge that’s presented to him he keeps rising and taking up to that challenge.

“His work ethic and desire to achieve are ones that are going to push him up to playing AFL footy.”

Stomping ground: Aidan Tropiano at Perth's home ground in Lathlain

Stomping ground: Aidan Tropiano at Perth’s home ground in Lathlain

Tropiano says he was 14 before he started dreaming of playing AFL and that being drafted would be a dream come true.

“It would be an amazing opportunity to take and to grasp with both hands,” Tropiano says.

Last month, Tropiano won the WAFL’s most prestigious prize for an individual player, the Sandover Medal. He played in a side that won just two games all year and finished bottom of the ladder.

“The Sandover probably came as quite a shock because we finished bottom of the ladder but I’ve always believed in myself that I can do anything I set my mind to,” he says.

Tropiano’s Under 10s coach at Brigades Football Club in Geraldton, Eric Cooper, says as a junior the now Demon was destined for big things.

“I could tell from a young age that he was going to be a good player,” Cooper says.

“I still remember Aidan going face forward back into a pack going the other way and marking it and as I said he was a pretty small, scrawny kid.

“He was a very easy guy to coach because, whatever you told him, he listened and tried to emulate.”

The 2015 AFL national draft will be held on November 24 at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

If overlooked at the national draft, the November 27 rookie draft offers AFL hopefuls a second chance.

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