Two young Traralgon footballers play the AFL Draft waiting game

Until last week Jordan Cunico (left) had VCE exams to keep his mind occupied during the anxious wait for the AFL national draft. But now he has nothing but free time, unlike teammate Christian Buykx-Smith (right) who can keep busy with a job.

The two 18 year olds from Traralgon played in Gippsland Power’s Under 18 squad for the last two seasons, along with other draft hopefuls Lukas Webb of Lakes Entrance and 2014 Morrish Medalist Alex Carr of Maffra.

Photo by Kate Mitchell:
Christian Buykx-Smith

Jordan and ‘Goose’, that’s Christian, are pretty good mates.

“His mum always calls him a silly goose,” said Jordan. “That’s how he got that nickname.”

“One night at training he was doing something with his boots and he ran into the fence. He came out with blood flowing from his lip. I guess that’s why his mum calls him a silly goose.”

Christian thought it only fair to point out why Jordan missed a few weeks of the 2013 pre-season. “He cut his leg driving a golf cart,” he laughed. “That wasn’t the smartest thing!”

The pair got stuck out on the water while fishing at Bermagui one time. When they found the motor wouldn’t start they had to call out to a nearby boat for a tow back to shore.

“That wasn’t really Goose’s fault though,” admits Jordan. “It was just one of those things.”

They play tennis and have a hit of cricket by Christian’s backyard pool. Their families socialise and occasionally eat out together.

“Goose pigs out! He never stops eating. He’ll basically eat anything!”

At least Christian’s diet, heavy as it is with pasta, has some variation. Apparently Jordan’s menu choice is very predictable.

“Jordan goes for a parma every time,” laughs Christian. “I’ve never heard him order anything different!”

As footballers they really quite respect each other.

“When Goose is spoiling, defending… he always gets his hand in on the ball,” said Jordan. “He’s definitely very quick for his size. He’s tall and he can run very well.”

As for Jordan, Christian says he has a “very penetrating kick. And his outside run is really quick, taking bounces and so on.”

Christian missed 11 games this year with stress fractures in his lower back. “That was frustrating,” he said.

“You’re always by yourself doing rehab and so on, so it’s not really fun. You’re not playing, you don’t train that much with the group, so it’s pretty boring and repetitive.”

Photo by Kate Mitchell:
Jordan Cunico

Knowing Christian was feeling this way, Jordan sent him a “sneaky text every now and again, just to pump him up!”

Given that Christian lost a fair chunk of the season, he was surprised to get to the AFL national combine last month. Six or more AFL clubs have to want you there to get an invitation.

The AFL national draft on the Gold Coast is just two weeks away, on 27 November. The pair agree that it’s hard to get a reading on how they or Lukas or Alex might do.

“You don’t really know what the recruiters really want,” said Jordan.

“It’s hard to tell what they’re looking for. You can’t really tell if you’ve had a good interview or not. It’s just a waiting game I guess.”