Riley Garcia has his bags packed – he’s ready to go. 

The 18-year-old from Western Australia has no hesitations in making the move to Melbourne’s west, and is excited to start life as a Western Bulldogs player after being picked at number 62 in the 2019 NAB AFL Draft. 

“I wasn’t sure what pick or where I would I go, so to finally hear my name called out was pretty special,” Garcia told 

“Ever since I was a little boy, I’ve always had the dream.

“I’ll be fine (moving out of home) – I see it as a good opportunity to meet so many new people and make new friendships. 

“It’s going to be a massive learning curve, but I’m excited about it.”

Garcia had an impressive draft year, before a cruel twist of fortune. 

The midfielder-forward averaged 20 disposals for his home state as they won the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships, before suffering a season-ending ACL injury in the tournament’s deciding match. 

“It was a year of highs and lows,” Garcia said. 

“It’s made me the person I am today, definitely. 

“I’ve definitely experienced some lows, with the high of getting drafted. It’s all happened and I’ve grown as a person.”

Somehow, the young gun grew up as a Richmond fan in a house of die-hard West Coast Eagles supporters.

But it’s taken Garcia – and his family – no time to switch their allegiance to the red, white and blue. 

“Funnily enough, my little brother bought a Bulldogs jersey when we went to Bali 10 years ago and he got it out and I chucked it on,” Garcia said of his draft-night conversion.

“It was pretty small – but it was pretty funny. 

“My whole family is Eagles, but I think I’ve converted everyone to Bulldogs now. There’s a few more WA fans for the Bulldogs.”