HILLSIDE and Essendon Doutta Stars product Cameron Rayner has become the first ever Number 1 Draft Pick to come out of the EDFL.
The powerful midfielder likened to Brownlow and Norm Smith Medallist, Dustin Martin, grew up playing with Hillside before joining Essendon Doutta Stars in 2015 – where the now 18-year-old produced one of the most stunning individual junior seasons in EDFL history.
The new Brisbane Lion collected five EDFL medals in his one and only year at Nipper Jordan Oval, including the Kevin Sheedy Medal as the U16 Division 1 B&F, as well as both premiership medals and best-on-ground medals in the U16 and U18 Division 1 Grand Finals that year.
It was a stunning year that not only caught the eye of the Western Jets, but the entire AFL community and eventually, the Brisbane Lions.
“I’m just really excited and happy to be a part of the Brisbane Lions,” Rayner said on stage moments after hearing his name read out.
“I think it’s just a big honour to see some of the names up here and see the players that have been picked before me.
“I’ve got some big shoes to fill and I actually want to start working and get into it.”
Meanwhile Rayner’s U16 premiership team mate Noah Balta (Essendon Doutta Stars) was the second EDFL talent taken in Friday’s draft, with reigning premier Richmond selecting the 18-year-old at Pick 25.
The tall defender began playing Junior Interleague footy for the EDFL at U14 level and eventually graduated to the Calder Cannons, where he played 21 games and kicked 30 goals in the TAC Cup.
Balta is now the fifth EDFL junior on Richmond’s list, joining Dion Prestia, Brandon Ellis, Corey Ellis and Callum Moore.
The AFL Rookie Draft will be held on Monday, where more EDFL Juniors will hope to find an AFL home.