Huddled around a computer screen with his parents, eighteen-year-old Jack Steele was moments away from realising a boyhood dream.
And then it happened.
With pick number 24 in the 2014 AFL Draft, the Belconnen Magpies product had been taken by the Greater Western Sydney Giants.
Steele debuted against North Melbourne in 2015 – one of six clubs that made the effort to meet Steele at his family home in Nicholls preceding the draft – after a string of dominant performances in the NEAFL.
SEE THE UPDATED STORY HERE
The youngster donned the orange of the Giants six more times in his maiden season, and coach Leon Cameron is expecting Steele to take a huge leap forward this season.
“He’s had a terrific pre-season [in his] second year. We expect him to transfer that into the game on Thursday,” Cameron said.
“He’s a young kid who’s played seven senior games and he’s had a taste of it, and now he wants more, which is good.
“All indicators are that he’s heading in that direction, but now the fun starts … he’ll be front and square on Thursday night in the middle of the ground doing what he does best … winning the footy.”
Winning the footy is something Steele has been doing since he was in primary school, as he and his Belconnen teammates built what could best be described as a dynasty in junior footy.
Built around Steele and Port Adelaide draftee Logan Steele, the Belconnen side were streets ahead of the competition. But then again, Steele was always a big fish in a small pond.
He won All-Australian honours as NSW/ACT’s MVP in the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships. The onballer was the first player to be drafted from Canberra’s Giants Academy.
One could be forgiven for thinking the Canberra star would set the competition alight in his first season. But being the man-manager he is, Giants coach Leon Cameron made the junior star earn his first top flight jumper.
The Canberra star gritted his teeth, and showed a steely resolve as he continued to dominate in the second-tier competition. And when the opportunity came knocking, this kid was not going to let it slip through his hands.
Steele burst on to the scene with 10 tackles and 17 possessions in Round 12 against the Kangaroos.
And now, 20-year-old Steele is primed for a huge season as the Giants push for a maiden finals berth. It all begins tonight at Manuka Oval.
The Giants have also named another Canberra product for tonight’s clash in Harrison Himmelberg. Himmelberg is in line for his AFL debut after being taken with the 16th selection in last year’s draft.