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Dow 'stoked' to land at Carlton

Paddy Dow highlights | Pick 3 Watch number three pick Paddy Dow's highlights.

THE 2017 AFL National Draft, headlined by the recruiting of Paddy Dow at selection No.3, also completes a personal three for Stephen Silvagni, who vowed that Carlton would land high-end talent through the 2015, ’16 and ’17 drafts.

“We have had a lot of list changes over the past three years, 42 changes in three years and we need some stability in our list now,” said Silvagni on draft night, “so I wouldn’t imagine we would be making a lot of changes at the end of next season. 

“We said we would go to three drafts, we have gone to three drafts now and we need to build some stability and keep these boys and get them playing together.”

For vastly different, but no less weighty reasons, Dow has also reflected on the poignancy of the moment - when his name was called at the Sydney Showground, in the presence of his father and mother and three brothers.

“At the moment it’s all a bit of a blur. The adrenaline was pumping when I went up on stage and there was a lot of media stuff, but I’ll never forget this night,” Dow said. 

Long-touted to feature in the upper echelons of the 2017 national draft pool, the 18 year-old Dow went in with some inkling that the cards would fall Carlton’s way. 

To be sure, Dow had held preliminary discussions with both Brisbane and Fremantle, but he also conceded both clubs were somewhat coy about which way they’d go with selections Nos. 1 and 2 respectively.

“I spoke to them a couple of weeks ago but they didn’t really give anything away,” Dow said. 

“They just asked me what my thoughts were in going to Brisbane or Fremantle, that was about it and I didn’t speak to them since.

“I had a good relationship with the (Carlton) recruiters and they did tell me that they rated me as one of the top players in this draft – then when Fremantle named its player I thought there was a good chance I’d go to Carlton. 

“At the end of the day I really had no idea. I went in with no expectations, I’m stoked and I can’t wait to get stuck into training.” 

Soon enough, Dow will be pitting his skills with the best of them, whether on the MCG, Etihad Stadium or wherever else – and that’s a long way from the Dow family orchard between Swan Hill and Woorinen, where he and his brothers (Dow is the second of four) chased the pigskin in countless rough-and-ready contests.  

“There were a lot of competitive games going on there where we live on a fruit block. It was always football for us and we always played against each other,” Dow said. 

“It was a great lifestyle on the farm. We put 40x40 metres of grass down, put the goals up and we played.” 

A North Melbourne supporter as a kid, the legacy of his paternal grandfather’s 18 senior appearances for the Shinboners through 1959, ’60 and ’61, Dow did admit to a distant emotional attachment with Arden Street. As he said: “I have memories of him (Peter Dow), but I was probably too young to get to know him well because he passed away about ten years ago”. 

As time passed, and thoughts turned to the science of the game, Dow homed in on the elite players across all AFL teams - and any sentimental attachment with the Kangaroos soon dissipated.

Regardless, Dow was also making his own mark – as a three-time best-and-fairest winner at Geelong Grammar, as a pivotal figure for Bendigo Pioneers, and ultimately as an All-Australian midfielder. 

When asked what he believed he could contribute to the Carlton cause, Dow replied: “Probably my hard work that comes with my inside and outside ball-winning ability, and being able to go forward and kick some goals”.

“Hopefully I can bring that to the team and assist all the other midfielders,” Dow said.

“Initially I want to get to know all the coaches and the players, get myself comfortable, work as hard as I possibly can to get myself in the best possible shape”.

Or to quote the senior coach: “Get comfortable being uncomfortable”. 

When the question of Dow was put to fellow Carlton draftee and Bendigo Pioneers contemporary Lochie O’Brien, the latter suggested that although butter wouldn’t melt in Dow’s mouth, he was a vastly different proposition on the paddock.  

That’s a view shared by Paddy. To quote the man himself: “There probably is a little bit of white line fever there. I give it my best crack”.

Dow is six weeks away from resuming full scale training after undergoing reconstructive surgery on his shoulder – which is fine by him as he knows he joins a playing group on the rise under Brendon Bolton’s watch. 

“There’s a good young group of boys at Carlton at the moment, a good culture, and it seems the group is moving forward . . . and I think Carlton will be a very strong team in the next few years.”