Draftee Dom Bedendo didn’t get much sleep the night he became a Western Bulldogs player.
The Myrtleford teenager was one of the final players selected in last week’s 2020 NAB AFL Draft when the Bulldogs called his name at pick 55 – just after 11pm.
He was already thinking about having to get up for work – at 5am the next morning.
But the adrenaline of achieving his dream of becoming an AFL footballer kept him up for hours.
“I was at my girlfriend’s house, we were watching it and it started to get late. When my name got called out, it was just pure excitement,” Bedendo told westernbulldogs.com.au.
“I started work at 6am, so I got up about 5.15am.
“I think I went to bed around 2am. I couldn’t sleep. It was really surreal for me.”
For almost everyone, 2020 has been a year like no other.
Bedendo – like all Victorian draft hopefuls – didn’t have an opportunity to prove himself on the field to recruiters this year.
But the high-flying 18-year-old didn’t let that impact his thinking, as he juggled training with work and completing his Year 12 studies.
It was definitely a different year, but I tried to make the most of it with the season not going ahead,” Bedendo said.
“I did a lot of work physically – a lot of explosive training – and I tried to stay in the right headspace.”
The Kennel has immediately felt like a welcoming place for Bedendo.
He’ll join his Victoria Country roommate – fellow draftee Jamarra Ugle-Hagan – at the club this week, and has been inundated with messages from his new teammates.
“I feel really welcomed and supported coming in to the club,” Bedendo said.
“Every player has reached out to me. It was pretty shocking to have Marcus Bontempelli in your messages. I’m just excited to get in there and meet everyone in person.
As a Collingwood supporter growing up, Bedendo has seen a lot of Jeremy Howe in action.
Draft experts had noticed a likeness between the two, with the new Bulldog hoping to follow in those footsteps.
“I did follow Collingwood as a kid, but that’s out the window now. I’m fully red, white and blue,” Bedendo said.
“I think I can be a versatile player and play forward or in the back line.
“With my aerial skills, I like to base my game around being a Jeremy Howe-like player.
“He flies for his marks and catches them at the highest point, I really enjoy watching him play. I’d like to think I play somewhat like him.”