CLAY Cameron had every reason to feel relaxed on National Draft night late last month.
The 18-year-old from Mt Gravatt had overcome injury setbacks to be snapped up by the Gold Coast Suns as a Queensland Zone selection with their pick 58, the club announcing its decision a month earlier.
But, attending the draft at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, Cameron still felt "nervous" for mates hoping to find new football homes.
In the end, those nerves were justified with the likes of Andrew Boston, regarded as a top-30 pick, and Jordon Bourke overlooked, leaving Cameron the sole player from the Sunshine State to be selected.
"I was a bit disappointed no-one else from Queensland got picked up," Cameron said.
"Growing up playing with them (in representative teams), you get to know them pretty well.
"The 191cm forward said he hoped some may get a chance in tomorrow's rookie draft.
"Hopefully they can get picked up. They definitely want it. It's all about getting a chance," he said.
Cameron admitted there were times when he thought his chance may not come.
The first came not long after he was voted the second best player at the 2009 Australian Under-15 Schoolboys Championships.
He had been struck down by the debilitating osteitis pubis.
"I probably had my best year in under-15s. I did set some goals that year (2010) …unfortunately none of them were achieved because I missed the whole year," he said.
"It was pretty frustrating, but I learnt a bit of mental toughness."
Another came at the AFL Combine in October.
"I did the first two days and then we did our medical screenings, and one of the AFL club's physios - cause I'd had a bit of a bad quad issue in the past, they all wanted to look at my quad - he gave it a tough test out and (I) tweaked it a bit and ended up missing the next day," he explained.
A phone call from the Suns days later, however, was reassuring.
"I got a call from (recruiting manager) Scott Clayton, saying 'we'd like to take you', so I was pretty happy about that."
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