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AFL draft: Finn Callaghan weighs in on GWS Giants’ decision to bid on Nick Daicos

First-round draft pick Finn Callaghan has already had the chance to prove he’s committed to doing whatever is best for his new AFL club.

Giants recruiter Adrian Caruso asked Finn Callaghan on Sunday – the day they revealed he was their choice – how he would feel about them bidding on Nick Daicos before him.

It was a major talking point all year and ramped up in recent days when Daicos revealed he hadn’t spoken to any of Greater Western Sydney’s recruiting staff pre-draft.

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As expected, the Giants unsuccessfully bid on Western Bulldogs father-son prospect Sam Darcy, then picked Callaghan at No. 3, with Collingwood matching Gold Coast’s bid on Daicos at the next selection.

Caruso’s logic was twofold: Callaghan better complemented the GWS midfield, and Daicos was headed to the Magpies on a four-year deal anyway.

So what was Callaghan’s answer?

“I said, ‘To be honest, I couldn’t care less. If you want to bid on ‘Daics’, that’s fine – I don’t care where I get picked’,” Callaghan said on Thursday.

“I knew I’d end up at the Giants, so I didn’t really care too much how it happened. ‘Daics’ is a great player – a superstar – so if he went ahead of me, I wouldn’t have minded.

“As long as I ended up at the Giants, it’s all the same at the end of the day. Once you’re there, you forget which number you’re picked at and get into playing footy.”

Callaghan also won’t judge his own progress against Daicos and other top-10 peers next season and beyond.

His mother, Lara, is Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge’s cousin and he’s supported them ever since the 2016 premiership mentor took over at the Kennel six years ago.

Callaghan’s favourite player is Marcus Bontempelli, a 190cm-plus midfielder like he is – but it’s new GWS teammate Josh Kelly whose game he said most closely aligned with his.

Think inside-outside midfielder with oodles of class and composure as well as a neat left boot and deep tank.

But where Kelly fastidiously adopts the same weekly routine before games, Callaghan is more relaxed about his preparation.

Either way, Callaghan plans to shadow the All-Australian and dual club champion as he plots a way into the Giants’ senior side, either on a wing or at half-back initially.

“It’s going to be super competitive and hard to get a spot because they have lots of good players, but I’ve got to embrace that,” he said.

“I want to try to learn as much as I can off guys like Josh Kelly and Lachie Whitfield.

“They have so much knowledge that I’d love to learn, so hopefully they can help me be the best footballer I can be.”

Callaghan already has a friendship with GWS utility Conor Stone, who was a first-round draft pick last year and regular gym partner of his when he was in Melbourne.

That fitness routine helped super-size the late-developing 18-year-old, who’s grown almost 20cm in the past two years after being overlooked for Vic Metro under-16 selection.

“I wasn’t on anyone’s radar then, so to see the culmination of hard work and dedication I’ve put in come to fruition was a great moment and something I’m proud of,” he said.

“When I was 15, if you had seen me then, I was a stick figure and only small. Being stronger and more powerful was a huge benefit in developing so quickly.

“I’ve always been a pretty hard trainer, but the last few years I got my own personal trainer and put in hours of work to make sure I would reach my potential.”


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