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Rising star drafts up a new name

Date
AFL No 1 draft pick Lachie Whitfield with his mother Maryanne, father Richard and sister Emma.

AFL No 1 draft pick Lachie Whitfield with his mother Maryanne, father Richard and sister Emma. Photo: Getty Images

As he farewells his son, the father of the AFL's No.1 draft pick, Lachie Whitfield, is welcoming a new identity.

''I'm no longer Richard, I'm now 'Lachie's dad,' '' he joked at the Gold Coast on Friday.

''He can lose his name - he's no longer Lachie, he can be 'the No.1 draft pick'.''

Whitfield snr realises that for better or worse, it's a label his son will carry throughout his career, with all the attached expectations.

But at least as part of a Greater Western Sydney squad that had a host of early picks and has two previous No.1 picks on its list - Jonathon Patton and Tom Scully - that burden will be shared.

''It really doesn't matter, they're all equal,'' Whitfield snr said.

''The same last year, they had so many first-round picks, so I don't think there'll be any pressure with the Giants. And it's a lot easier being in a non-AFL state.''

His mother, Maryanne, was more concerned about how ready her son was to leave the family home in Melbourne.

''He's not domesticated in the slightest. I'm upset about that because I tried really hard,'' she said.

''I really did, I taught him how to use the washing machine, how to steam vegies and everything, but he's a bacon and eggs kind of guy.''

For Lachie, his next tasks were sifting through the 100-odd texts and tweets he's received since his name was called on Thursday night, farewelling his friends at a high school valedictory dinner on Friday night, then joining the Giants on Sunday.

He's not entirely sure what will happen after that. ''I'm a bit clueless on it all at the moment,'' Whitfield said.

''I'm sure they'll give me a big briefing once I get up there.

''It's just going to be a gruelling pre-season, I'd imagine; a lot of running, a lot of weights and a lot of time sweating.''

He would love to make his AFL debut in round one, but said with the Giants' many talented youngsters, breaking into their midfield could be tough.

AAP

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