SOUTH Launceston coach Mitch Thorp has received an invitation to attend the AFL draft screening day in Melbourne in October, aiding his chances of being picked up at the end of the year as a mature-age recruit.
The 24-year-old Thorp has drawn the attention of AFL recruiters with his consistently good performances in State League this season firming him as a ready-made forward option for the end-of-season draft.
Thorp was picked up by Hawthorn as a 17-year-old in the first round of the 2006 AFL draft but injury limited him to just two senior games before he was delisted at the end of 2009.
He will be joined at the state screening day by Bulldogs teammate and former Brisbane draftee Bart McCulloch who also received an invite _ the only two from Tasmania.
``I found officially yesterday but I heard a couple of weeks ago that I might get an opportunity,'' Thorp said.
``It's a bit different for someone like me because I'm 24 and a lot of clubs have seen me play before.
``I suppose it's a good thing that I can go and have a chat with a few more clubs than I already have, do some testing and catch up with a few people.
``It probably increases my chances if more clubs get a chance to see me but the AFL is that professional now that recruiters are across everyone around Australia before the state screening takes place and clubs know what they are after before that date anyway.''
Thorp said it was ironic that he and McCulloch were chosen being from the same club and with similar histories regarding their football careers.
The South pair join seven other State League players in Brady Grey and Eli Templeton (Burnie), Alex Pearce (Devonport), Jake and Kade Kolodjashnij (Launceston), Toby Nankervis (Northern Bombers) and Zac Webster (Glenorchy) who have been invited to the AFL national draft combine.
``There is a lot of negativity around the TSL at times but it is a powerful competition when we have seven young guys going to the draft camp in November and a couple of older guys going to the state screening,'' he said.
``It's providing a pretty good pathway for players to get looked at and drafted from Tassie footy because there are recruiters down here every week and it's exciting for our competition.''
AFL Tasmania general manager Shaun Young echoed those sentiments, saying it was an outstanding achievement for the TSL.
``It's further evidence of how integral the competition is to our most talented footballers in the state,'' he said.
``It would be a fantastic result if we could get a number of those nine taken in the draft _ but no one is under any illusion that is a tough gig to get on any AFL list.''