When an ankle injury ruled him out of contention for this year's State under-18 squad, Jordan Snadden shrugged it off, thinking he was lucky to have scored an invite in the first place.
Needless to say his selection in the 2014-15 NAB AFL Academy earlier this month came as something of a shock. The 17-year-old East Fremantle midfielder was one of 11 WA players awarded a scholarship to the elite junior program for next season.
Snadden is the only new face inducted to the level-two program, with Yestin Eades (Swan Districts), Greg Clark (Subiaco), Callum Ah Chee and Kade Stewart (South Fremantle) all graduating from the bottom-aged level-one system earlier this year.
WA under-16 stars Sam Petrevski-Seton, Jeremy Goddard (Claremont), Sam Powell-Pepper (East Perth), Noah Hura (Peel), Luke Strnadica (East Fremantle) and Joshua Rotham (West Perth) received level-one scholarships.
The 2014-15 season will be the first time the academy will be run without the assistance of the Australian Institute of Sport.
Both programs will feature several training camps in Melbourne, with the level-two squad travelling to the US in January and the level-one group playing a game in New Zealand in April.
At 188cm, Snadden is one of the growing crop of tall inside midfielders being sought by AFL clubs.
Had it not been for the injury, he would have played for WA in the under-18 championships as a bottom-aged player. Snadden said at the start of the season his only goal was to play as many games as he could for the Sharks colts.
He didn't expect much when he was summoned for a meeting with the State talent academy earlier this month.
"I didn't think much of it, I thought it might just be a chat to see how things were going at East Fremantle," Snadden said.
"It turned out I'd got into the AFL Academy. It was a hell of a shock."
Snadden has been ruled out for the remainder of the WAFL colts season with a hip flexor injury, but hopes to recover in time for the academy's first game, a curtain-raiser for this year's AFL grand final.
Petrevski-Seton is already on the top of most scouting lists, despite being two years away from qualifying for the draft.
The Halls Creek product is still adjusting to city life and said while he was excited about travelling to New Zealand with the level-one academy next year, he was not exactly looking forward to the cold weather.
"That's a bit frightening," Petrevski-Seton said.
"But I reckon it will be pretty enjoyable to go over and see the other side of the world, or the other side of Australia."