By Jed Lanyon
Eastern Ranges footballer Cody Hirst has been selected by the Sydney Swans at the AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft on Monday 27 May.
The 19-year-old from Wandin played for Lilydale Football Netball Club as a junior before moving onto the Eastern Ranges in the NAB League under-19’s.
Hirst was the final player selected at the draft (pick 16) and was considered a certainty for selection at last year’s AFL Draft before knee and collarbone injuries restricted his playing time.
Hirst is touted for his blinding speed and endurance as he broke Fremantle speedster Stephen Hill’s record in agility testing twice at the Rookie Me combine last year.
Sydney national recruiting manager Simon Dalrymple was rapt to welcome Hirst to the Swans.
“Cody’s running is at a really good level and so is his agility. We think that as a small forward or on the wing he’s got some really good qualities.”
Eastern Ranges Talent Manager Sean Toohey said that he was not entirely surprised to see Hirst selected at the mid-season draft.
“We felt he was very unlucky not to get drafted last year… We thought he could be a real bargain for someone who wanted to take the risk on him after some of his injuries.
Toohey said that Hirst’s hard work was evident in games after overcoming the disappointment of going undrafted.
“He’d been in really strong form this year, he was showing off his pace and agility, his foot skills were very precise.”
Toohey said he’d like to see Hirst play as a wingman at the game’s highest level.
“He’s a classical wingman just the way that he breaks lines with his running especially when he’ll be on bigger grounds at the top level.
“He can run forward to impact the scoreboard or play a high half forward and roam up the ground,” he said.
Hirst had been averaging 23.8 possessions per game in the NAB League this season.