The eye catching attraction of Carlton for the Mildura South draft pick Lochie O’Brien was his accurate and long left foot kicking.
The execution, whether hitting a moving target orkicking for goal is totally natural for O’Brien - the boy from Mildura South who was snapped up tas Carlton’s pick No.10 in the 2017 NAB AFL National Draft, earned in part for the Bryce Gibbs trade.
In an interview with Carlton Football Club scribe Tony De Bolfo and published on the Carlton AFL Club website Carlton’s second selection of the 2017 draft and he’ll tell you that his kicking capability came with the support of his father Jason and his junior coach at South Mildura, Dom Scullino.
“I can’t remember too far back, but Dad always talked about how when I was young I was a terrible kick, that I always used to slam the ball onto my boot and didn’t have much success with it,” O’Brien said.
“Dad and Dom spent a lot of time on me, just making sure I got my kicking structures right and it’s really worked out . . . I reckon that was when I was at Auskick age, somewhere between four and eight.”
O’Brien had a fair idea he would end up at Carlton if the cards fell as anticipated.
“I was pretty much told that if St Kilda took Hunter Clark (at selection No.7) then I was going to be taken at No.10”. O’Brien said.
The Sunraysia Bulldog product had been on Carlton’s radar for months, having participated in a 10-day training camp with the players on the Gold Coast in late 2016.
The camp proved to be invaluable for O’Brien, for as he said of the experience: “I got to know a few of the boys, which definitely boosted my spirits”.
Along the way, O’Brien’s fortunes at Bendigo Pioneers were closely monitored by Carlton’s recruiters.
“I was in pretty regular contact with (recruiting officer) Michael Jordan.”
“We pretty much spoke on a weekly basis and he took me out to dinner a few times,” O’Brien said.
“There were probably four clubs heading into it that I was probably getting ready to go to, but Carlton was the main one I was hoping for.”
There was a time where O’Brien actively pursued a career in athletics, as an accomplished runner over 400 and 1500-metre distances. History records O’Brien as a Victorian 400-metre winner who claimed the state’s schoolboy record with a time of 51.06 seconds.
Lochie O’Brien’s grandfather, Denis O’Brien, also of Mildura, won the best and fairest award at Collingwood Reserves in 1970 and played one senior VFL game in 1971 with Collingwood before returning to his suburban