TSL success story Jay Lockhart proved that the national draft isn't the be-all and end-all for young AFL hopefuls, says fellow North Launceston premiership player Jackson Callow.
Long-touted as one of the state's top prospects for 2020, Callow was one of four Apple Islanders and the sole Northerner selected for Tuesday's Tasmanian leg of the national draft combine.
He joined Northern state combine invitees at Queechy High School, but didn't test due to an ankle sprain that will likely keep him sidelined until the first week of TSL finals.
The 18-year-old said that while December 7's draft was all aspiring hopefuls' first chance at joining an AFL club, it would by no means be their last.
"Hopefully all of us are going to get picked up on that day but it's not the end of the world if we don't," Callow said.
"We've always got next year being able to play at under-19s Devils and see what else happens in the VFL and everything like that.
"You've always got a few more years - Jay Lockhart was a lot older when he got picked up so that's something to have in the back of your mind that's a confidence booster."
A star of North Launceston's 2019 premiership side with three goals on grand final day, Callow has added another string to his bow in a COVID-hit 2020.
The 194cm tall has been used with great effect in the backline this season, picking up player of the year votes for stellar performances against his side's two main flag challengers - Launceston and Lauderdale.
The St Patrick's College student said he was equally happy at both ends of the ground.
"I've loved it - I used to play back when I was a kid but when I got to Mariners and Devils they played me always up forward and I love kicking goals," Callow said.
"But going down back and trying to find a bit more of the football and taking a couple of my habits from being a forward into the back-line and knowing what the strengths and weaknesses of a defender can be is definitely an advantage.
"Being able to play both roles and also a bit of time in the midfield has been really good.
"It's something we've been working on in pre-season with my coach Taylor Whitford, we came up with a plan to attack the year as an individual and as a team player as well in my draft year.
"I think we've found a balance really well this year being able to play both positions and depending on the teams we're playing and the games we're playing in."
Before coronavirus hit, Callow took part in pre-season Gold Coast trip with the Allies squad and also spent time training with North Melbourne, where he joined up with fellow North Launceston and St Patrick's College alumni Tarryn Thomas.
"When we went to North Melbourne in Victoria there for a week at the start of the season Tarryn and I worked closely together," Callow said.
"To be able to catch up with him and train with him for a week was really good and just to see what he's like, how much he's changed.
"He's more of a leader now over there, he's grown up a lot which is really cool to see and to stay in contact with him a bit was really good."
Clarence's Oliver Davis and North Hobart pair Patrick Walker and Sam Collins also took part in the national combine in Hobart.