Lachie Hunter. Photo: Ken Irwin
Lachie Hunter will join the Western Bulldogs next week as a harder, more tackle-happy player for the time he has already spent at the club.
Hunter, who will join Jack Viney and Joe Daniher as father-son nominees tomorrow, has trained at the Whitten Oval during his school holidays for the past few years as part of the Dogs' father-son program.
The Bulldogs may be asked to take the son of former defender Mark with a second-round choice under the father-son bidding system, but the fact there are only three clubs ahead of them in the draft order means they may get away with using a third round pick or later on him.
Father-son bidding will be done on Monday morning, before the official trade window opens.
Hunter spent much of last season in a running role for the Western Jets, but said he had focused this year on improving his inside game playing as a forward and through the midfield.
The 17-year-old left footer recorded the quickest agility run at this week's draft combine, running the course in eight seconds flat.
"I'd always played mainly outside footy, but's changed this year to mainly inside because that was a focus the Bulldogs gave me. The outside stuff has gone away a bit this year, but hopefully I'll be able to combine the two later on," Hunter said.
"They wanted me to win more contested footy and do more tackling, so that's what I've worked on. It's mostly a mindset thing, and if you can go out there thinking about how many tackles you'll get, not make it all about possessions, it starts to come more naturally."
Hunter grew up supporting Essendon, the club his cousin Mark McVeigh has just retired from, but said his time with the Dogs had shown him what next year would demand of him, whichever club he wound up at.
"I've been able to learn a lot. Obviously it gives you an indication of the workload involved, which a lot of kids have never seen. They let you know what you need to improve on and help you focus on doing the right things," he said.
"The first time I saw a pre-season session, I realised the workload would just be massive. They did two hours of full on training, they were getting smashed, people were vomiting and then they had to go inside, go back back and start a running session.
"It was a massive jump from anything I'd ever seen before and hopefully being able to see that will mean I'm a bit more ready to do it myself when the time comes."