24 November 2021

Zoom meetings and Strava time trials: Josh Fahey on trying to get drafted in a pandemic

| Max O'Driscoll
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Josh Fahey. Photo: Supplied.

Josh Fahey was awarded best afield for the NAB AFL Academy against Geelong’s VFL side in April this year. Photo: Supplied.

It was arguably the most important run of his life.

With the modern AFL club always searching for the next distance-running machine, the 2km time trial has emerged as a pivotal event for prospective draftees.

So, on a synthetic athletics track in Canberra, while most of the country’s next crop of draftees ran against one other, Josh Fahey ran alone.

He managed to achieve a personal best time of 5:59 and was one of only four draft prospects nationwide to run under six minutes.

“It wasn’t too bad. It obviously would’ve been better to do it with another person or someone to keep the pace, but at the end of the day, I ran a very good time and I was stoked with it because it was a PB,” said Fahey.

“Considering I did it alone, I probably wasn’t expecting that.”

It capped a truly bizarre year for draftees, filled with Zoom meetings and varying access to time on the park due to the pandemic.

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Fahey didn’t have his name called out in the first half of the draft on Wednesday night (24 November) but is expected to be one of the first names called on night two. His draft stock grew exponentially after a best afield performance for the AFL Academy against Geelong’s VFL side in April.

He is projected to be selected early in the second round of the draft. Being part of the Greater Western Sydney Giants Academy, they can choose to take him at any time should another club attempt to draft him.

“That’s where the mark will be for me personally. Obviously, with the Giants being able to match a bid, being in their academy, I think I’ll slide down the order a bit, and it works out better for the club because the lower I go, the fewer points they have to use,” he said.

“I’m very happy with how it’s panned out, and hopefully, I’m on an AFL list by the end of the night.”

From discussions with the Giants, Fahey expects to be in orange and charcoal when season 2022 rolls around. He says talk coming from the Giants has been “positive” in the weeks leading up to the draft.

“I’ve got a very good relationship with a few of the higher people at the Giants and I’ve had some contact with them over the last two weeks and that’s where, if everything goes to plan, I’ll end up,” he said.

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If it is the Giants, he looks forward to working alongside players such as Josh Kelly and Lachie Whitfield as their playing style is similar to his, and he believes he could learn a lot from them.

However, he is open to the possibility of playing elsewhere and says that while representing the Giants would be a dream come true, so would playing for any of the other 17 AFL clubs.

“As everyone knows, on the night, anything can happen. A curveball could get thrown in there, and everything changes, but the idea at the moment is to get to the Giants,” said Fahey.

“Being on an AFL list has been my dream for the last five years. I’m not fussed, no matter what. As long as I get there, I don’t care where it is or who it’s with. If I get the opportunity to play AFL footy, I’m grabbing it with both hands no matter what club it is,” he said.

Ahead of his likely selection, Fahey made a note of the impact of the Queanbeyan Tigers, his football home for six years, describing it as “the best club in Canberra”.

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Brendan Vernon1:57 pm 25 Nov 21

Good luck – we will be watching…

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