Dean’s big win improves draft hopes

Charlie Dean. (Williamstown Football Club)

Tara Murray

It’s been a whirlwind few days for Williamstown draft hopeful Charlie Dean.

Dean, who has been on the radar of AFL clubs heading into this year’s draft, is now a name on everyone’s lips after winning the Victorian Football League’s Fothergill-Round-Mitchell Medalist.

Dean averaged 15.1 disposals and 7.3 marks across nine games in his debut VFL season to be named the competition’s best young player.

For Dean everything is all starting to happen at once.

“There’s a bit more media attention and it’s good to give the club a good rap as well,” he said.

“It’s a good thing the public finds out about me, but the more important thing is the recruiters hear about me.

“My main focus is to get drafted.”

With the past 14 winners of the award having found their way onto AFL lists as well as 22 overall, the odds are now in Dean’s favour.

Dean has spoken to three clubs already and has an interview lined up with another.

While being drafted has remained in Dean’s mind since missing out in his draft year, he said the focus had been about putting his best foot on the field.

“I think because the end of the year is always so far away, getting drafted wasn’t a clear goal of mine.

“My main focus was on performing in the backline each week and take it each week at a time.

“It helped me focus on the current stage of the season. I didn’t look forward that much.”

After not being able to play in his first season at the Seagulls due to the pandemic, Dean looked right at home in defence.

He was quick to praise his teammates.

“I fitted in really well and played my role,” he said. “I played on some good players.

“I was able to take an intercept mark and take on my man one on one. My ability to use my kicking skills was really pleasing as well.”

While Dean has one eye on getting drafted, he has put pen to paper to stay with the Seagulls if that doesn’t happen.

He said they were hoping to get a full season in the bank and built on what they had been doing.

“There’s some really good people at the club and the ability to get players drafted and play final regularly, also attracted me.

“The culture at the club as well. The extra 20 minutes travel is nothing for what I get back in return.”

Dean said his physical ability and speed had been two things that made him better prepared for being drafted this time round.

He said the work he had done at Williamstown in learning preparation was so much better.

Dean was meant to test at the AFL combine on the weekend, but had to settle for only two-kilometre time trial, when the event was cancelled.

“I was pretty happy with 6.11 which was a personal best. Willy has been really good and has given me an off season program.”