Liam Griffiths is training with the GWS Giants AFL squad during the pre-season. Photo: Colleen Petch
Ainslie's Liam Griffiths ditched the idea of having an 18th birthday party last weekend, hoping he can celebrate this year by ending Canberra's AFL draft drought.
Griffiths surpassed the AIS-AFL agility record of Fremantle gun Stephen Hill last week and is getting ready to train with AFL club Greater Western Sydney next week.
Invited to take part in a week's training with the squad in Sydney, Griffiths is one of four Giants academy members about to find out exactly what it is like to be an AFL footballer.
Former Essendon midfielder Mark McVeigh, now with the Giants, described Griffiths as ''absolutely top end in terms of endurance, speed and agility'', with ''fantastic skills'' and ''very professional''.
While the 232-game Bomber said the AIS scholarship holder was an ''exciting prospect'', he thought Griffiths was ''certainly in with a shot'' to be the first Canberran drafted since Jason Tutt in 2009.
''It's a very hard market, but I think he's definitely one of ACT's strongest prospects,'' McVeigh said.
''We're very excited. We just have to work with him and give him the best opportunity to be able to pursue his career.''
Griffiths was excited to get the chance to train with some of his idols.
He will continue to call on Giants onballer Tom Scully as a mentor. Griffiths has modelled his game on Scully - a hard-running, outside midfielder who can also go and win his own ball.
If he ever has any problem, he can just give the former No.1 draft pick a call.
''Whether it be school or something I need to work on, or dealing with pressure (I can call him),'' Griffiths said. ''Tom has definitely dealt with (pressure) being a No.1 draft pick and living up to the hype.''
Griffiths is also looking forward to rubbing shoulders with the likes of All-Australian forward Jeremy Cameron, Giants co-captain Callan Ward and Stephen Coniglio.
He wants to absorb everything he can about being an AFL footballer.
The Canberra product has shown he already knows how to train hard. He set a new record of 7.72 seconds for the agility test, which could be described as a running version of a skiing slalom but with more direction changes.
''It's just a taste of what it's like to be a professional footballer,'' Griffiths said of his Giants trip.
''Pretty much my whole life I've wanted to play AFL at the highest level and also getting to bond with the AFL players.
''They're hyped up to be superhuman, but we all know they're humans like us.
''I'm just looking forward to meeting them all and earning respect off them, and making friends as well.''
Currently living in Goulburn, Griffiths will move to Canberra at the end of the month to begin a traineeship with AFL NSW/ACT.