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Monday, November 29, 2021 - 10:40 AM


The Claremont Football Club’s proud history of producing players for the highest level of the sport has continued, with a quartet of Tigers drafted in the 2021 NAB AFL National Draft.

Midfielder Angus Sheldrick (Sydney Swans), forward Jacob van Rooyen (Melbourne Demons), wingman Arthur Jones (Western Bulldogs) and ruckman Eric Benning (Fremantle Dockers) were among 15 players selected by AFL clubs in what is a terrific result for the WAFL competition.

18-year-old Sheldrick, who starred for Christ Church in the PSA system and won Claremont Colts’ fairest-and-best award after playing just nine games, was shocked after Sydney selected him with pick 18.

“I had pretty low beliefs that I was going to go in the first round,” Sheldrick told 91.3 SportFM’s Sports Breakfast.

“My older brother (Oliver) actually went off to footy training because that’s how certain we were that I was probably more of a second-round thing. It was a major shock but I couldn’t be happier now.”

A midfield beast who wins contested ball and kicks goals, Sheldrick wielded his influence in some of the biggest games of the season and caught the attention of several recruiters.

“Definitely my grand final (against Swan Districts) and that last State (under-19s) game over in South Australia were probably two games that really helped push me into first-round contention,” Sheldrick said.

“I think I had a good, consistent year but those two games definitely put me into higher sort of rankings.

“I definitely knew that Sydney were interested but I thought that was more with their early-30s pick and definitely not their first-round pick. I’m stoked that they’ve got faith in me and took me there.”

Combining his playing duties with aplomb at three different levels, Sheldrick praised his teams and their influences on him.

“Christ Church has been huge and obviously it’s a really academic school, which has held me in good stead off (the) field and getting things done away from footy, and I can’t thank Christ Church enough. They’ve been super,” Sheldrick said.

“Obviously I had Rob Wiley there as a coach for the past three years playing first-18 footy. I can’t thank him enough and he’s been a big influence on my footy for sure.

“And then Claremont’s been awesome as well. This was my first year playing Colts footy, which is probably a bit of a shock to most (people), but I can’t thank Claremont enough and without those two systems I’m not sure where I’d be.”

Sheldrick was quickly contacted by several Sydney players and senior coach John Longmire, with the Swans, who are renowned for their strong culture on and off the field, already making an impression on him.

“I’ve already been exposed to the high level of brotherhood that they embody,” Sheldrick said.

“I think Josh Kennedy or Luke Parker, given they play a similar position that I play, it would be exciting to go over there and learn off them and just be a sponge to all of the knowledge that they have.

“Ever since I was a young kid I always liked to get in and under and get the contested ball. 

“I’m going to go there and do everything I can to put my best foot forward to impress the coaches and gain the respect of all my teammates.”

Van Rooyen, a key forward who is also capable of playing in defence, was selected by Melbourne with pick 19.

“I feel obviously stoked and pumped. It’s really exciting and a dream come true,” van Rooyen told The West Australian.

Jones and Benning were selected by the Western Bulldogs and Fremantle respectively with picks 43 and 54 in the second round of the draft.

The Claremont Football Club congratulates all four of their draftees and wishes them all the best for their exciting futures.