RIVERINA PLAYERS PICKED

THREE Riverina footballers have found homes at AFL clubs after gaining selection in yesterday’s all-important pre-season and rookie draft.Temora’s Luke Breust and Henty’s Kade Klemke will embark on AFL careers after being picked up by Hawthorn and Essendon in yesterday’s rookie draft.Wagga’s Matt Suckling is also set to continue his AFL career after he was thrown a lifeline and redrafted by the Hawks onto their rookie list.While Richmond’s decision to pick up disgraced Brownlow Medallist Ben Cousins created the most attention from yesterday’s draft, it was a matter of a dream coming true for the Riverina trio. Having trained with Richmond for the past fortnight, most experts had touted that it would come down to either Cousins or Klemke for the remaining place on the Tigers’ senior list.But in one of the biggest shocks of yesterday’s draft, Klemke was not taken in the pre-season draft and slipped down to selection number 50 before being taken by Essendon as a rookie.Klemke was on the way home from Batemans Bay yesterday when he received the news from older brother and current Culcairn captain-coach Matt.The 18-year-old Henty junior was thrilled with the result.“Richmond had told me they weren’t going to pick me up so I wasn’t really expecting much,” Klemke said.“So just to make a list, even a rookie list, is the best thing that could have ever happened.”For Breust, a small forward from Temora, his AFL dream appeared over midway through the year when he fractured his left tibia. But the talented teen received an invitation to trial with the Hawks last week and was over the moon when he saw his name selected yesterday morning.“When I got injured, I definitely thought my dream of making the AFL was over,” Breust said.“I hadn’t talked to any clubs until the state screening test not long ago.“So to get picked up now, it’s all pretty exciting.”

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