Taj Woewodin was not born when his father, Shane, won the Brownlow Medal while playing for Melbourne.
- Around 15 players from WA could be selected at the AFL draft
- Several famous names are hopeful of joining the league’s ranks
- But Taj Woewodin and Josh Cripps both want to follow their own path
21 years later, Woewodin is hopeful he will join the AFL ranks, potentially as a father-son selection at the reigning premiers.
“Obviously it’s a dream to be at Melbourne, but at the end of the day, wherever I go, if I do go, I’ll give it my best shot,” he said following the AFL trials in Perth.
“Any AFL club it would be great to be on the list. It would be awesome.”
While the Woewodin name has attracted some extra attention, Taj has learnt to deal with the expectations attached to it.
“I just take it week by week, that’s the best I can do. I’m just putting my best foot forward,” he said.
“I would love to create my own path, and do my own thing that way. But yeah, the name stays there, so I can’t change that.
“I’d love to carve my own path.”
Woewodin did no harm to his chances of being drafted, recording the fastest 20-metre sprint among those at the WA combine.
Cripps dreaming of joining brother
Woewodin was not the only famous name at the trials, with Josh Cripps pushing his case for a spot on an AFL list.
And if his dreams come true, it will be in blue alongside his brother Patrick.
“That would be awesome to play with my brother. It’s been a childhood dream to play AFL and to play alongside one of your mates would be pretty cool too,” Cripps said.
Cripps grew up a Hawthorn supporter, idolising star Lance Franklin, but Patrick’s selection by Carlton in 2013 forced a change of allegiances.
But while playing alongside his brother was a dream, Cripps admitted living in his shadow had been difficult.
“I definitely want to create my own path, and he’s been a great mentor for me, so there’s pros and cons,” he said.
The younger Cripps recently missed 12 months of football with an ACL injury, but returned for the second half of this season, although he had to contend with shin splints for most games.
“As soon as my load ramped up from the ACL, they came on, so I’ve had them all year,” he said.
“It’d be nice to play a game going in feeling 100 per cent because I haven’t had that for a while.”
With the AFL draft to take place on November 24 and 25, the countdown is on for players to learn if they will be training at a club next year.
“I’m pretty nervous, to tell you the truth,” Cripps said.
“It is a dream and you’re in that time of uncertainty, so these 40 days before the draft will drag on a bit I reckon.”