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Becoming Blues: Rookies arrive at new home

Josh Honey and Fraser Phillips spoke to Carlton Media after being drafted to the Blues as rookies.

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NEW Blue Fraser Phillips thought his draft dream was finished when he missed out on selection in the 2019 NAB AFL Draft.

The medium-sized Gippsland Power forward had turned his attention to next year when his name was read out with Carlton’s second selection in the 2019 NAB AFL Rookie Draft.

“It’s still unreal. I had no idea, I honestly thought I was done and I would have to focus on next year. To get the call just feels great and I couldn’t be happier,” Phillips said.

“I was just at home on the couch, watching a bit of the NFL. I got the call and I couldn’t believe it. I was so happy and relieved.”

Phillips’ whirlwind day ended in him arriving and training at his new club just hours after being drafted, where he was met by a familiar face.

The new Blue was reunited with Harry McKay: the two grew up as close childhood friends in Warragul.

“Big Harry, I’ve known him my whole life. Our parents have been really good friends,” he said.

“To have him here has really helped, being able to ask questions and introducing me to what it is like.

“All of the boys have been unreal. They’ve been really welcoming. The likes of Cripps and some of those names are crazy to see in real life and to be with them every day.

“I’m really looking forward to getting closer to them and picking their footy brains as much as I can.”

While Phillips had had some contact with Carlton’s recruiting team ahead of the draft, the chance to pull on the Navy Blue came a surprise to the youngster.

“Michael [Jordan] and Dale [Harris] came home to Warragul and I was interviewed by them at the draft combine,” he said.

“I had a bit of contact but to have my name called out as a Blue was really great.”

A third-generation footballer, Phillips is a versatile youngster who can do damage up the ground as well as close to goal.

It was the latter which stood out for Gippsland’s leading goalkicker, and he’s hoping to bring similar strengths to his new club.

“I’m a half-forward that can also come up the ground. My goal sense and my kicking are strengths of mine,” he said.

“Hopefully as I build up my strength and endurance, hopefully I’m able to push through the midfield.

“I was always in the backyard kicking at things, pretending they’re goals. I think that has definitely carried through to my footy, I love kicking them.”