Honey, it’s worth the wait

Josh Honey. Picture Shawn Smits.

By Lance Jenkinson

Josh Honey is not too fussed to have missed out on the glitz and fanfare that comes with being selected in the AFL national draft.

The 18-year-old eventually got his wish of landing on an AFL list on the third day of drafting through the AFL rookie draft.

For as long as he can remember, Honey’s dream has been to make it to the AFL and he got there on Friday in no frills style.

After two long nights of recruiters not calling out his name, Carlton snapped up the explosive Western Jets forward with pick three in the rookie draft, which is an internet-only affair.

There were no TV cameras, no selections read out by AFL chief Gillon McLachlan and no jumper presentations, but that did not bother Honey in the slightest.

“It was a childhood dream to play AFL,” Honey said. “It’s a dream come true.

“I was pretty nervous, but when I didn’t get called out on Thursday night, I wasn’t too shattered because I knew I had a chance in the rookie draft.

“I would’ve liked to have gone in the national draft, but I still ended up on a list, so I’m just loving the opportunity.”

Honey was an AFL player before he even realised.

The Keilor product was following the rookie draft selections through the AFL app, but the app was lagging and he missed seeing his name typed out.

“I got a call from the list manager at Carlton who said ‘you’re now a Blue’, so that’s how I found out,” Honey said.

“I was pretty rapt when that happened.”

Carlton actually committed to take Honey on Thursday night after the final selections of the national draft.

Honey’s manager was informed but kept it under wraps so not to spoil the surprise.

“They called my manager to say they’d pick me the next day but they didn’t tell me that, so I just waited pretty nervously,” Honey said.

“He made me wait, so we had a bit of a laugh about it.”

It will be a strange first week in the AFL system for Honey.

He grew up an ardent Collingwood fan, but will now change allegiances.

“I was a huge Collingwood fan,” Honey said“It’s going to be tough transitioning, but I’ll get over that.

“Carlton is a terrific club.”

A serious talent that could be a rookie draft steal, Honey has all the attributes needed to be successful as a mid-sized forward that is more than capable of playing through the midfield. His greatest assets are his ability to stand up in a tackle, his speed out of traffic and his finishing around goal.

He is an eager pressure player, too, as his six or more tackles in seven games with the Jets can attest.

Landing at Carlton gives Honey a chance to grow with one of the best young and developing lists in the AFL.

Meanwhile, the Jets failed to have a player selected at the AFL National Draft for the first time since 2015.

The only two Jets landing on AFL lists were chosen through the rookie draft. Following Honey’s move to Carlton, key position player Emerson Jeka was selected by Hawthorn with pick nine.