AFL player manager Robbie D’Orazio has dared clubs outside Victoria to call Archie Perkins’ bluff in Wednesday night’s draft.
Perkins looms as a strong prospect for those seeking a midfield-forward option but he has told multiple teams that he wants to stay home in Melbourne.
“I hope they take that on board,” the 18-year-old told SEN radio.
“I get that they’re doing what’s in the best interests of their footy club, but I just think personally that I’m not ready for that in this stage of my life.
“I feel like it would impact me too much and I don’t think it would be in their best interests as a footy club to have me there because I wouldn’t be 100 per cent with it, and couldn’t really commit myself 100 per cent as opposed to staying here.
“I would be ready to go and fully committed. I just don’t think I’m ready for that and I wanted to be honest about it.”
Adelaide, GWS, Sydney and Gold Coast hold picks inside the top 10, with Fremantle sitting just outside.
Perkins’ comments caused a stir in the footy world, sparking a debate about tampering, pre-draft demands and even the minimum age.
He is not the first draftee to make such a request – Bailey Smith got to the Bulldogs after a similar ploy – and clubs are often cautious regardless.
The go-home factor has ravaged the likes of Brisbane in the past and the Giants as recently as this off-season, with young players seeking trades after their initial two-year contracts.
But Perkins’ agent says the young footballer does understand that he could land anywhere around the country for his first stint in the AFL.
D’Orazio admitted clubs “probably don’t love hearing” such demands but none have raised any significant alarms since their meetings.
“The feedback’s been ok, to be honest with you. Archie, as much as he says this, the clubs know they can still pick him,” he told the AFL website.
“It’s a national draft. Clubs sometimes call their bluff. I remember Adam Cerra probably didn’t want to go to Fremantle at the time – (he) ended up extending his contract soon after that.
“Clubs probably don’t love hearing it, some clubs probably want to pick him with those early picks but may not. But again it’s up to them.
“They can pick the player, convince him that their culture and their footy facilities and what have you are all up to standard and he knows it’s a draft.
“Clubs haven’t really got on the front foot to call me and say ‘what’s going on’, that’s for sure.”
Wherever Perkins lands, some education is on the cards.
“We absolutely love Archie. We’ve known him for a little while, what you see is what you get,” D’Orazio said.
“He says it how it is, which probably doesn’t go his way all the time. We’ll have to teach him what he thinks he doesn’t have to say.
“He’s a beauty. He’s a complex character but he understands that footy’s a team sport and he’s probably learning the ropes in that regard. Once he’s on the field he gives it his all. He’ll learn as he goes.
“I know that all he wants to do is play footy. He said something this morning that probably didn’t come out the way he meant it.
“He understands that it’s a draft and he needs to enter the draft and he could end up anywhere. He’s excited about that.
“Look, boys wants to be him and girls want to be with him. He’s a ripper.”