Draft week: The family perspective

“The family is already talking about buying two jerseys and sewing them together,”

That’s Scott Wagner, a proud as punch father right now, after both his sons were drafted to the AFL last week.

For most AFL fans, supporting more than one team is blasphemy, but the Wagner family has no choice.

They have embraced two Victorian AFL clubs, after Corey, 19, was picked by North Melbourne, and Josh, 21, became a Demon.

Draft week definitely wasn’t smooth sailing though.

On Tuesday night, the extended family and a dozen of Corey and Josh’s closest mates all gathered at their Bracken Ridge home on Tuesday night to watch the NAB AFL Draft live.

Interest surrounded both boys in the lead up, so both were a chance to have their names called out.

“The boys were pretty good, the last day or two was when the nerves set in,” Scott Wagner said.

At 7.35pm, at pick 43, one of Scott’s boys had done it.

“Everybody froze when Corey’s name came up next to North Melbourne. We knew they were interested but we didn’t know how much. It was a bit of shock I guess,” he said.

Because Corey was a Brisbane Lions Academy member, they could match North Melbourne’s bid, which meant his future was up in the air for another couple of minutes.

“We all sort of sat quietly waiting to see how it played out. We’d spoken earlier in the year about the fact he could end up anywhere, and he was okay with that. If he didn’t go to the Lions, he was keen to go down to Melbourne and be right amongst it,” Wagner said.

When Brisbane declined, it was locked in; Corey was a Kangaroo.

While everyone was elated, and Corey’s dreams came true, the family had to keep their celebrations in check. The night wasn’t over yet

Half an hour later, the draft concluded. Josh hadn’t been selected.

“It was a good night, but it was also a bit bitter sweet,” Wagner said.

“We wanted to cheer Corey, but we were hoping Josh would get selected as well, which meant we had to wait until Friday.”

Friday was the Rookie Draft; Josh’s last chance to make it onto an AFL list this year.

When the sun rose on Wednesday morning it was business as usual for Josh, though Corey’s life had just changed.

“We were okay, Josh went to work the next day. He had a couple of phone calls in the days leading up to the Rookie Draft, so we knew someone was interested, and then we were just running around getting Corey ready, because he was down in Melbourne by Thursday,” Wagner said.

That meant a couple of nervous days of uncertainty for the family.

“The wait from Tuesday to Friday was a long one. The rookie one would have been great if it was the Wednesday,” he joked.

When Friday morning rolled around, and the Rookie Draft kicked off, it only took five minutes for Wagner’s luck to double.

Josh had been selected with pick six by the Melbourne Football Club.

“There were a lot more tears and carry on, on Friday when Josh had his name read out. We would have been a lot happier if it both happened on the same night, but it was great that it happened in the end,” Wagner said.

“It’s just fantastic, everyone is so happy for them. We couldn’t have imagined they would both get drafted in the same year.”

Both kids are leaving the nest, but Scott isn’t worried. After all, they have got each other down there.

“Everyone is already talking about flying down for their first game. Josh’s girlfriend is going to move down in the new year with him which will be really good. They won’t be too far away from each other so they can catch up regularly,” he said.

If both Wagner boys are selected in the senior when Melbourne and North Melbourne square off, the family will be torn, but that won’t be a new experience.

Josh and Corey have come up against each other twice in their NEAFL days, while Josh was playing for Aspley and Corey the Lions Reserves.

“You sort of just have to barrack for the both, you can’t go for one or the other,” Wagner said.

They even lined up against each other.

“It’s funny though in those games, Josh was picking up all the Lions players and Corey was the only one left. You could see he didn’t want to but he kind of had to,” he said.

If that match up does happen one day, the Wagner’s won’t be hard to spot. They will be the crew with two jumpers sewn together, clapping every goal at either end, and giving a loud cheer every time Josh or Corey get a touch.

By Andrew Wiles

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