Longwood selects three-time AFL premiership star in inaugural Carlton Draft
Longwood Football Netball Club has acquired the services of a three-time AFL premiership hero for a special one-off appearance.
AFL champion Cameron Mooney is set to don the Longwood colours later this season after he was selected by the Kyabram District League club with pick three in the inaugural Carlton Draft.
Introduced this year by Carlton Draught, the Carlton Draft sees eight AFL greats head out to Victorian country leagues to help bring passion back to local football.
“I’m looking forward to it. I grew up in Wagga Wagga, so country footy is where I cut my teeth,” Mooney, 42, said.
“I know how important local footy and netball clubs are to communities. They really are the lifeblood of country towns.
“I couldn’t think of a better way to try and give back to community clubs.”
Mooney’s football CV speaks for itself.
His career started at North Melbourne when he was taken at pick 56 in the 1996 draft, and he went on to play in the Roos’ 1999 premiership.
A switch to Geelong in the early 2000s saw his career blossom.
Mooney finished with two more premierships, in 2007 and 2009, as well as being All-Australian in 2007 and a two-time leading goal kicker at the Cats.
Although the 221-game and 297-goal legend confessed he hadn’t played for “10 years”, he is hopeful of putting on a memorable night for the Redlegs’ faithful.
“I was surprised I was pick three. I was more pumped to not go last, to be honest,” Mooney said.
“I can’t guarantee a good performance on the ground, but I can promise a good day and night off it.
“I can guarantee a contest in the air but I also won’t be going far from the goal square.”
Longwood president Ricki Shiner was excited to lock in Mooney for a one-off appearance.
Shiner expected Mooney to be a crowd favourite.
“Honestly, I reckon we’ve hit the jackpot. I think ‘Moons’ will be fantastic,” he said.
“Obviously we know he hasn’t played for 10 years, but what he’s going to provide off the ground is just as important.
“He’s one of the best media performers going around and I bet he’s got plenty of ripper stories to tell from his premierships and playing days.
“We already have a few things that we would like to try and do. I’ll have to speak to Cam to find out what he’s comfortable doing.
“We could do a president’s luncheon, or a footy clinic for the kids, and then host a sportsman’s night as well.
“I just want to see people come along and really enjoy the day.”
And when can we expect Mooney to don the Longwood jumper?
“I’m thinking later in the year, around July, when the grounds get muddy and everyone can slow down to my pace,” he said with a laugh.
“I hope everyone in the region gets behind it.
“Let’s all support Longwood and get together to have a bit of fun.
“Fingers crossed we can even pull off a win and celebrate.”