LAUNCESTON footballer Kade Kolodjashnij has been picked to join the AFL-AIS Academy.
The 17-year-old found out just before Christmas from state academy coach Adam Sanders of his late inclusion as the only Tasmanian in the 32-player academy squad.
``I was stoked when I found out,'' Kolodjashnij said.
``I didn't expect it and I'm just thrilled to have the experience.''
Kolodjashnij spent a week attending an AFL-AIS Academy training camp in Melbourne recently and another week training with Hawthorn.
``It was great being able to spend time with some of the best young players around Australia and we were allocated to an AFL club for a week,'' he said.
``It was unreal to see the professionalism and how they go about it.''
Kolodjashnij will attend one more camp with the squad and play a curtain-raiser match against Collingwood's VFL side on the MCG for round 1 of the 2013 season before heading to Europe on the academy's annual 12-day high performance tour.
``I can't wait - it should be really good and I'm looking forward to the experience,'' he said.
Kolodjashnij will play his second year with the Tassie Mariners this season at the national under-18 championships, with his focus firmly set on the AFL draft at the end of the year.
``I'm 17 turning 18 so it's pretty much draft year for me this year,'' he said.
``The goal is to get drafted - but I've still got a way to go and I have to play well at nationals.''