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New Blue Tom 'over the moon'

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He stands a bee’s diaphragm over 200 centimetres, is the third youngest of 10 children, and his Dutch surname, translated, means 'The King'. Meet Tom De Koning, Carlton’s third selection (overall) of the 2017 NAB AFL Draft.

Taken with Carlton’s third selection (30), the head-banded former basketball was truly stoked in the aftermath of having his name called. 

“I’m over the moon to have been drafted to a club in Melbourne that now gives me the chance to follow my dream,” De Koning said.

“My main goal is to make myself known to the Club, get to know everyone, don’t be too cocky and give off that sort of vibe, make sure I absorb everything and learn as much as I can in a learning environment.”

Carlton’s call brought welcome finality for De Koning, who had an inkling the Club saw a future for him at Blueland.

“I really didn’t know where I was going to go or if I was going to go, so me and three of my brothers came to Melbourne, booked a room at Crown and watched the draft play out on a TV at one of the restaurants,” De Koning said.

“When my named was called out, the people in the whole restaurant pretty much got around me. There were tears in everyone’s eyes, but it was probably the happiest moment of my life.”

A graduate of the NAB AFL Academy who right now probably sees himself as a forward/ruckman rather than the reverse, De Koning’s football journey has in no small way involved his father Terry, a 31-game former Footscray player for three seasons from 1980 – and his paternal grandfather Martin, a Dutch migrant and loyal Carlton supporter. 

 

“My father was a positive influence for me as a coach through my junior career,” De Koning said.

“He never favoured me. He treated me as just part of the team, which I loved. He never gave me special treatment and really helped me develop as a ruckman who could also play a little bit forward.”

In Jacob Weitering, De Koning (or 'TDK' as he is sometimes known) has another trusted ally, the pair having chased the leather for Mt Martha juniors. 

De Koning will no doubt rub shoulders with Weitering at Ikon Park on Monday, and then it will be down to business. He’s fully overcome a lacerated kidney suffered when he hit the ground awkwardly following a ruck contest in a TAC Cup match in late July, in a year in which he was also occupied with his school studies. 

And the athletic, rangy left footer sees in Carlton and its list of fresh-faced players a team going places. As he said: “the club has a strong, developing team of a lot of young blokes working their way up through the ranks. Hopefully I can cement a place in the team but I know it’s going to take a lot of hard work”.