It was a rainy, miserable Perth day in late July when Brad Close’s phone lit up.
The Cats were midway through their Western Australian road swing when then Academy coach James Rahilly summoned the 21-year-old to a board room at the Crown Promenade in Burswood, where Rahilly, Chris Scott and the Geelong coach group were waiting.
There, Scott broke the news that the 21-year-old would make his debut against the Dockers on the Monday. He would then go on to join the first game, first goal club, sending one through the middle just 65 seconds into the Cats’ 32 point win.
He picked up 14 touches and took three marks on that soggy Perth night and would turn 22 just three days later.
It was a dream come true for the South Australian speedster; a dream that at times seemed unlikely before he was snapped up with pick 14 in last year’s rookie draft.
Fast forward 12 months and Close has been named Geelong’s best first year player at Thursday night’s Carji Greeves Medal.
He registered seven more games after his debut, and will go into 2021 full of promise.