Rochester export Joe Atley looks set to be given an early chance to shine with his new AFL club Port Adelaide.
Atley, 18, was taken with pick 32 of Friday night’s AFL draft and Power officials expect the 186cm midfielder/half-back, along with top selection Sam Powell-Pepper to press hard for a senior berth during the initial stages of next season.
Port general manager of football Chris Davies is confident Powell-Pepper and Atley can make the step up to the big time from the get-go.
‘‘There’s a couple of guys there, certainly from a body perspective, that could come in and cope with the rigours of AFL footy straight away,’’ Davies said on Sunday.
‘‘With four relatively early picks, we wanted to make sure that we were looking at the future, but also addressing (current) needs as well.’’
Atley, who debuted at GVFL senior level for the Tigers at the age of 16 last year, was the first of four Bendigo Pioneers players to be called out.
In a draft that proved a veritable bonanza for the Goulburn-Murray region, Atley’s selection coincided with five of the seven Murray Bushrangers selected hailing from GVFL or MFL clubs, including Deniliquin’s Todd Marshall.
Atley joins a large contingent of GV footballers at Alberton with Ollie Wines, Tom Clurey and Jarman Impey sure to welcome another contemporary.
The new faces took part in their first training session with teammates yesterday.