Geraldton could soon have its next AFL star as Jed Hagan counts down the days until draft time later this month in what he hopes will be just reward for hard work. Sitting at his local club Brigades, Hagan was excited over what could unfold for him in a few weeks. The East Fremantle utility is widely tipped to go around the pick 40 mark to join the storied group of Mid West products. The AFL national draft is split over Monday, November 28, and Tuesday, November 29. “It’s been a long time coming, so I think it’s more excitement at the moment. Lots of nerves, but I guess all the work is done now, it’s just about sitting back and seeing what happens,” Hagan told the Geraldton Guardian this week. Hagan is enjoying some time back home after a busy year making his senior WAFL debut in round 15 this year before impressing at the under-18s State championships. “It’s been a bit of a whirlwind. The move to Perth helped, just to be a bit more relaxed, but I think if you surround yourself with the right people you’ll be OK,” he said. “That’s what I did all year and just trusted what I was doing and focus on playing footy week in and week out and not worrying about the outside noise. “Very special club, Brigades; it’s a family club. The Hagans have played here since day dot and I always try to get back when I can.” Hagan’s road to the precipice of the AFL began with his first State-side selection. “I made the state 12s and I didn’t really expect much. I just went down there to have a go and just see what happens and I did really well,” he said. “From then onwards I kept making State teams and from about 13, 14 I started to realise this could be on the cards and I think it just came down to not getting too far ahead of myself. “I kept coming back to the fact of knowing how hard it is to make it so I just needed to keep playing good footy and the rest will take care of itself really.” Hagan had to put in the hard yards before his move to Perth, making the 848km round trip weekly for colts games and often having to train away from the main squad. “I think you face a bit more adversity and you have to be a bit more resilient; there are times when you can easily say ‘no, I don’t want to travel down this week’,” he said. “But I’ve got a goal in mind and to reach that you have to overcome adversity at times and so I kept pushing along because I’m hoping the end goal is not far off now. “It’s part of my story now and I’ve built that over time and it will keep me in good stead in the future, just knowing how to cope with those things if they pop up.” Hagan praised the help of a local AFL legend for helping him develop his game. “Harry Taylor has been massive for me all last year when I was back in Geraldton, obviously not training with the full State group or East Fremantle,” he said. “He was back here helping me out basically training one-on-one, so he was awesome for me and I’m really grateful for it.” There was some misfortune in recent months when an ankle injury saw Hagan miss out on the chance to compete in the national combine in October. “The national combine is one thing that sticks out in your draft dream and it was unlucky I couldn’t test but that’s how things go, it’s part of the game,” he said. “It was still a good experience to bond with everyone and my ankle will be good to go come pre-season.” Hagan is not getting too ahead of himself when it comes to the night itself, saying no one was ever sure of what could happen. “You don’t know; you’ve got no idea. There’s a little bit of interest there which is handy but until draft night comes, all you can do is sit back and hope for the best really,” he said. “We’ll have family and friends over. Everyone’s pretty keen to get over and hopefully have a good night and hopefully my name gets read out and everyone can celebrate.” While he said he would like to stay in WA, Hagan is confident he can impress no matter where he ends up. “It would be ideal but there are only two clubs so you can’t really choose, but if I can stay in WA that would be awesome but to get on the list anywhere is the main thing and it’s about what you do when you get there,” he said. “I think the whole journey has held me in good stead. I’ve got a bit of experience of what it’s like, so hopefully leading into getting drafted I’ll be pretty prepared to hopefully go into a system.” However, Hagan does hold a soft spot for one club. “I grew up supporting West Coast, so that would be a childhood dream for sure,” he said. No matter where he ends up, Hagan is thankful for everyone who helped him get to where he is. “I want to thank Mum and Dad for all they’ve done so far and hopefully it all pays off so I can pay them back one day,” he said. The AFL draft is scheduled to start at 4pm on November 28.