AFL draft star backs Bombers
Photo Source: AAP
Potential top AFL draft pick Hugh McCluggage would be happy to join Essendon, saying the Bombers showed this year they had turned a corner.
McCluggage's outstanding under-18 season has him widely-rated as the player likely to go first in the draft and the Bombers hold the No.1 selection.
Essendon finished last this season after losing 12 players at the start of the year to doping bans, a result of the club's long-running supplements debacle.
While McCuggage has no say in who recruits him - and he was quick to voice his enthusiasm about joining any AFL club - he noted the Bombers had handled a tough season well.
"It doesn't worry me," he said of Essendon's dramas.
"They've stuck together really well (this season), a lot better than people thought.
"They've had a few good wins and they've obviously had the supporters get behind them.
"It's onwards and upwards for them."
The North Ballarat Rebel capped a great year a week ago by kicking four goals in the AFL under-18 All-Stars match, which showcased many of the top draft prospects.
McCluggage also won the TAC Cup's Morrish Medal and made the under-18 All Australian team.
The only downside of his All-Stars performance was a quad injury, which could restrict what tests he performs over this weekend at the AFL draft combine at Etihad Stadium.
Asked who he thinks will be the No.1 draft pick, McCluggage said "definitely" Sandringham utility Andrew McGrath.