Hawthorn recruit Dayle Garlett says it was fear he’d blown the chance for a better life that caused him to curb the partying ways for which AFL clubs snubbed him a year ago.
The 19-year-old West Australian forward was rated top-10 on talent before last year’s draft, but concern over his off-field behaviour meant he was overlooked completely.
But the reigning premiers, who have been in contact with Garlett since he was 17, were convinced he has changed enough to take him with pick No.38 in last Thursday night’s draft.
The teenager said after initially struggling to come to terms with missing out on being drafted last year, it had proved an important turning point.
“When I didn’t get drafted, the first thing that came to my mind was there was no second chance,” he told reporters at Hawthorn training on Monday.
“Then I had a couple weeks to think about what I wanted to do with my life.
“Coming back to (WAFL) footy training from there on, that’s when it’s just clicked, saying I wanted to play AFL footy.
“I’ve just been coming to my senses and focusing on my footy and realising what’s important in life.
“Just that if I made the AFL I’d have a great future and life ahead of me.”
He underlined his talent with 48 goals for WAFL club Swan Districts this year.
But Garlett said the move from WA could help him off-field.
“I just know so (many) people in Perth,” he said.
“Once I get out of WA over to Victoria I’ll just be a nobody so I can just focus on my football.”
Given Garlett’s background, he’s under more focus than fellow Hawks draftees Billy Hartung and James Sicily, although the club have said they won’t handle him any differently.
Garlett says all he’s interested in is performing on-field.
“I’ll just focus on my training and getting things done and see where things go from there,” he said.