OVER the last few months, it was very much in Alex Mirkov’s wildest dreams.
Just a few years ago, it wasn’t even a possibility.
But now, sitting in his home whilst in quarantine, the boyhood Bluebagger can call himself a Carlton player. How did we get here?
The 210-centimetre ruckman’s Carlton journey began when he was the last player signed for the Blues’ VFL list back in March. Come June, he’s readying himself to link up with his newest teammates upon their return from Sydney.
The Mirkov household couldn’t contain their excitement last night: in particular, Alex’s Dad, whose Carlton allegiance was naturally past on to the newest Blue.
“It was pretty crazy last night,” Mirkov told Carlton Media.
“The emotions were running high. I didn’t know what was going to happen in the end, but I’m so glad it panned out the way it did.
“Dad was especially excited. Growing up supporting the Club and being able to pull on the Navy Blue as an official player is definitely an honour.”
Some Carlton supporters would have already seen Mirkov in action, provided they tuned into Kayo back in Round 2 of the VFL season.
In just his second game, Mirkov accrued 36 hitouts - with 11 of those to advantage - as he placed the ball at all hours of the clockface at the centre bounce.
It was a sign of what Mirkov was capable of so early in his football career.
Described as a “sponge” by Head of List Management Nick Austin for his willingness to learn and adapt, the former volleyballer knows he’s got a development ahead of him but can’t wait to get stuck in.
“I didn’t grow up playing footy at all. I was a volleyballer, which I started when I was back in Year 5 and played all the way through to Year 12,” he said.
“I started the year training for senior footy in Premier C in the VAFA. From there, I didn’t even think VFL was an option: it was in my wildest dreams to potentially become an AFL player.
“I’m a bit unique in terms of my height and athleticism. Once I got picked for the VFL squad, I started thinking ‘maybe it could happen’, and then, yeah — I guess it has!”
Having been around IKON Park as part of the VFL program in recent months, Mirkov has gotten to know teammates Tom De Koning and Marc Pittonet, as well as ruck coach Matthew Kreuzer.
Growing up (literally), Mirkov idolised Carlton’s former No.8, who will play a crucial role in Mirkov’s development as he sets his sights on an AFL chance down the track.
When it comes to the areas that Mirkov wants to work on, the input of Kreuzer will be most beneficial, according to the draftee.
“He was a massive inspiration for me… he’s been a big mentor for me over the past few weeks,” he said.
“I’ve done a few training sessions with him recently and got to know him a bit better: he’s been great. He’s taught me so much over the last few weeks and I’m really excited to put more work in with him.
“When you think of a 210-centimetre bloke, you think of a big, lumbering fella who’s just going to run around the ground and tap the ball because that’s all they can do. I like to think I’ll bring a bit more than that.
“I’m looking forward to it, to meeting the fans — I’m really excited.”