COLLINGWOOD mature-age recruit Sam Dwyer knew his window of opportunity was closing.
Yesterday, after eight seasons and 130 games at Port Melbourne, the wait was over for Dwyer, 26. Collingwood took a punt on the hard-working midfielder, using pick 28 in the AFL rookie draft on him.
The electrician was at work on Tuesday when he got the good news. "I got a couple of messages off a couple of friends and [Port coach] Gary [Ayres] called," Dwyer said. "I was flat out at work so I couldn't watch it at all. It's pretty exciting. I am looking forward to getting down there and getting stuck into it.
"I spoke to them during the season and had a meeting with them a couple of weeks ago but apart from that I had no indication."
The former Geelong Falcon said the news still hadn't sunk in.
"With more mature players picked up you're always a chance, but obviously the window gets smaller and smaller each year," he said.
"Every year you get a bit fitter and stronger and have a greater knowledge of the game and you develop in all areas."
Dwyer is under no illusions - he knows he'll have to earn his spot in a star-studded Collingwood line-up.
The three-time VFL team of the year member said he expected to play a midfield-cum-forward role.
"My aim is to play senior football. It's going to be tough," he said. "They are all quality players."
Ayres, who coached Dwyer at the Borough for five seasons, said his drafting was reward for effort. "It just shows what persistence can accomplish," he said. "Sam's been able to consistently play super football for Port Melbourne Football Club at VFL level and we believe the VFL is firmly the second-best competition outside of the AFL."