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Fremantle have drafted exciting tall forward Dillon O’Reilly from East Fremantle with pick no.11 in Monday’s NAB AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft.
O’Reilly is a 193cm versatile key position player who has played four league games for East Fremantle and impressed as a bottom ager in the colts in 2017, kicking 46 goals from 17 appearances.
He also represented WA at the NAB U18 Championships in 2018, where he took the equal most contested marks of any player and also led the goalkicking for WA.
The 19-year-old is the son of former Fremantle player and current board member Stephen O’Reilly, who played 98 games for Freo between 1995 and 1999 and won the Doig Medal in 1996.
If Dillon makes his debut, they are set to become the first father-son combination to represent Fremantle.
Fremantle list manager Mark Micallef said O’Reilly had been on the radar of Freo selectors for some time.
“Dillon is a versatile key position player that is super skilful with the ball in hand,” Micallef said.
“He’s a very good kick of the football and is someone who can read the ball overhead very well. I’m sure Freo fans will be really excited from what they see from him.
“Dillon was on the radar last year, he had a bit of an injury interrupted year but he came back and played some really good footy.
“He kicked 46 goals for East Fremantle as a bottom ager, which shows he has a natural goal kicking nous and he is someone we have been tracking closely.”
Micallef said that O’Reilly impressed the Freo selectors with how he bounced back from missing out in the 2018 drafts.
“He’s been very diligent with his application and how he’s gone about not getting drafted,” Micallef said.
“His turnaround from 2018 has been amazing, he’s been super diligent across the whole pre-season, he’s done extra fitness work, he’s made really great progress in his application and how badly he wants to be an AFL footballer.
“We’ve seen that first hand, hence the reason we’ve wanted to give Dillon an opportunity.”
Micallef confirmed that O’Reilly would be eligible for selection for Fremantle and that he would switch from East Fremantle to Peel in the WAFL.
“The AFL rules are that a rookie can play straight away, so Dillon comes in as a Category A rookie replacing Matt Taberner, who is now on the inactive list,” Micallef said.
“When he plays WAFL, a part of the arrangement is that he can play for Peel so he can develop with the AFL-listed players in our system, understand the game style, how the game is played and what the Freo way is.”
Micallef confirmed that O’Reilly’s contract runs until the end of the 2019 season.
“Right now, the contract length is six months but we can extend that out if we see fit,” Micallef said.
“We get rights to sign him on as well so he effectively becomes a Fremantle player who has a contract until the end of the 2019 season.”