A STRONG start to his time in the Victorian Football League (VFL) has rocketed Temora's Will Reinhold into AFL mid-season draft calculations.
Reinhold was last week granted an exemption by the AFL to be available for the mid-season rookie draft to be held on June 1.
Under the rules, a player must have nominated for a previous draft to be eligible but Reinhold was one of three players to be initially granted an exemption.
The exemption comes on the back of some interest from AFL clubs about Reinhold after he has impressed in his opening seven games at Port Melbourne.
Reinhold returned to Melbourne this year after dominating in a brief seven-game stint back home in Temora last year.
The 21-year-old is happy with how the move back to Melbourne has progressed so far but is not buying into too much draft talk.
"There's a few whispers and that but if it comes, it comes, really," Reinhold said.
"At the start of the year I didn't think I was going to play much VFL so if it comes it will be a great opportunity but I'm not getting my hopes up."
Reinhold has impressed as a key defender at Port Melbourne with his damaging left foot catching the eye of AFL recruiters.
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The AFL review each exemption application on a case-by-case basis with genuine interest by clubs in drafting players a key factor in the decision.
That bodes well for Reinhold, who returned to Melbourne this year with no great expectations but is keen to play at the highest possible level.
"Yeah while I'm down here I may as well keep playing the best possible level," he said.
"Especially when you look back on your career, you want to look back and feel like you got the most out of it while you had the chance.
"My opinion of it all is what did I have to lose? The worst possible thing that could happen was being told I'm not good enough. That was my view coming down here. Give it a crack and see what happens. It's worked so far so I'll keep going with it."
Reinhold has already had the experience to play on the likes of AFL forwards Logan McDonald and Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti and is enjoying his role in defence.
"It's good. It's probably my position at this level," he said.
"Being able to read the play a little bit more. The wings are hard to play at this level. You're not playing on anyone, you're playing more to the system."
Port Melbourne sit 14th on the VFL ladder after two wins from their opening seven games.
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