It will be debut delight on Friday night for the Western Bulldogs with intercept defender Luke Cleary pulling on the red, white and blue for the first time.

Cleary’s story is a tale of patience and persistence.

After being overlooked in his first draft, the 20-year-old impressed for the Sandringham Dragons in 2021 and was rewarded by the Dogs, drafted at Pick 61 last year.


A mid-size defender with an elite kick, Cleary has put together a string of positive performances with Footscray, allowing for an opportunity at senior level.

The youngster was thrilled to hear the news from development manager Jamie Maddocks. 

"It still hasn’t really sunk in yet," Cleary said.

"It was a pretty cool moment, all the boys jumped on me.

"Reflecting on it now, it's something you have thought about your whole life and I cannot wait for Friday night.

"For a period, I didn’t quite think I would get to this moment, so to finally get here is pretty awesome.

"Hopefully I can take the opportunity and play my role for the team."