Lachie Whitfield knew more than six months out from the 2012 draft that he would likely be heading to Sydney as the No. 1 pick.
The GIANTS let Whitfield know during a junior tour of Europe at Easter that he was the player they were planning to choose if they finished last on the ladder.
The 25-year-old relays the story of his draft year in the latest episode of the Becoming GIANT podcast, presented by Bingo Industries.
He said knowing his likely destination so far out gave him the chance to enjoy his final year of junior football in Victoria, and gave his family time to get used to the idea of him moving away.
“We got to travel overseas (with the AIS-AFL Academy) and I remember having a sit-down with Stephen Silvagni, in Italy I think it was,” Whitfield said.
“He sort of just said to me off the record that if the GIANTS were to get the No. 1 pick then I was a huge chance to be going there, that they were going to take that opportunity with me.
“I went back to school in term two knowing I’d probably be moving to Sydney by the end of the year, I was wrapping my head around that a bit and it was pretty exciting because I knew a lot of the guys who had already gone to the GIANTS the year before in that inaugural season.
"I sort of just focused on my studies and on having fun playing footy, knowing that my outcome was probably going to be in Sydney.
"I was sort of surprised at the fact they were going to take me at that stage - that at that early stage they had their mind made up - but it was good.”
Whitfield moved to Sydney thinking he would likely seek a trade back home to Victoria after his first few years. He signed a seven-year contract in December last year and plans to be a GIANT for life.
“I thought I’d ride it out and see if I could get to 22 or 24 and then see what I could do to come home,” he said.
“I definitely thought I would have moved home by now, when I first got drafted ... I signed a one-year extension pretty quickly because I thought I’d give it at least three years and then it was 'if I'm still missing Melbourne or thinking I could be better in Melbourne, I’ll go then.'
“But the longer you stay at a footy club, the relationships you make, the quality of the people around the footy club and the success you have, you sort of think to yourself, why would I leave this?”
GIANTS defender Heath Shaw featured in the debut episode of Becoming GIANT, telling the story behind his move from Collingwood to Sydney at the end of 2013.
Matt de Boer, Daniel Lloyd and Zac Williams will feature in upcoming episodes.