WILL Ashcroft wants Greater Western Sydney to bid him at pick No.1 in next Monday night's NAB AFL Draft, but if it doesn’t happen it won't bother the teenage sensation who is bound for Brisbane as a father-son selection.
The 18-year-old won't have to look far for an example of another son of a gun who was considered by many as the best player in his draft class, but wasn't taken first because he was heading to the club his famous father played for.
On this day last year, Collingwood was able to take Nick Daicos at pick No.4, matching a bid made by the Gold Coast Suns.
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Daicos produced arguably the best debut season of the modern era in 2022, winning the NAB AFL Rising Star Award after playing all 25 games in year one.
Ashcroft will follow in the footsteps of his father Marcus, who won three premierships and played 318 games for the Lions before remaining involved in the game at different levels. It is only a matter of when a bid will come for him.
"I haven't spoken to [Daicos] personally, but I've followed his story and seen the way he's progressed," Ashcroft told NAB AFL Draft Countdown on Thursday afternoon.
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"If it does fall that way for me, I'm hoping to do a similar thing where he probably shouldn't have gone pick four, and it's shown this year.
"If that happened to me I'll just be focusing on my footy and have a crack, not worry about the pick because it doesn’t really matter at the end of the day."
The midfielder won almost everything in his draft year, claiming the Larke Medal and All-Australian selection after a standout a standout National Championships, as well as averaging 34 disposals for the Sandringham Dragons in the NAB League.
Ashcroft has been touted as the No.1 pick for a long time and has become accustomed to the expectation and scrutiny that comes with that tag.
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"I try not to think about the pressure or the attention too much, it's just part of the industry; the AFL is a high-pressure industry," he said.
"I've just tried to stick what I know and do what I do best, do everything I can off the field to prepare myself.
"When you’re a young kid it's nice to have that attention, but I'm past that stage now. It is there and it's part of the journey."
After finishing school at Brighton Grammar last year, Ashcroft has been almost a full-time footballer in 2022, even playing three games with Brisbane's VFL side late this year where he produced a three-vote game to highlight his quality.
Away from football, Ashcroft has developed a performance and wellbeing platform called WASH (@wash_pw) that aims to help provide young athletes with a resource to develop strong habits and achieve goals. The platform launches next Tuesday, hours after Ashcroft – and the football world – discovers what pick he was taken in the NAB AFL Draft.