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Waterman knows not to waste AFL chance

AAP logoAAP 23/11/2016 Roger Vaughan

Jake Waterman knows better than anyone at Friday's AFL draft that once he joins a club, the opportunity must not be taken for granted.

West Coast have nominated the 18-year-old as a father-son selection.

The WA under-18 captain will most likely join the Eagles only two months after they delisted his older brother Alec, who was also recruited two years ago as a father-son pick.

Glandular fever cruelled the older Waterman's chances and he was cut without making his senior debut.

The two brothers have not talked much about it - Jake says it is a touchy subject - but Alec's delisting was a harsh reminder about the potential downside of an AFL career.

"Probably the big one for me is the one you hear a lot - your career can come to an end so soon," Jake said of his brother's plight.

"To have it exposed so close to me was a bit of a wake-up call and pretty frightening.

"If I get the opportunity to go to the next level, just don't go through the motions.

"I'm not saying his career is at an end - he could have much brighter things in front of him."

His older brother's experience at West Coast has taught Jake plenty about what will hit him as an AFL recruit.

"Alec in his first pre-season, he came home every day and he was just knackered," he said.

"I wouldn't have it any other way.

"You want to to work hard.

"It's scary, but that's the best part about it."

The Watermans grew up immersed in the AFL - their dad Chris played 177 games for the Eagles and was a member of their 1992 and '94 premiership teams.

Jake said his father, and his old teammates, had always given great advice.

He has also learned over the past couple of years to deal with the extra attention that comes with having a famous AFL father.

"I was probably 15-16 and I had a few people talking, a few eyes on me," he said.

"But I got past that stage pretty early, where I was just a bit anxious going into games because I had this big target on my back.

"There's nothing wrong with that. If you're going to make your career, you're going to have that multiple times."

Waterman would love to join the Eagles, but also is happy to go elsewhere if another club picks him.

Collingwood have also nominated Callum Brown (Gavin) and Josh Daicos (Peter) as father-son bids.

But curiously, Adelaide did not nominate Ben Jarman, whose father Darren starred for the Crows and Hawthorn.

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