Stepping into Cyril Rioli’s boots isn’t a challenge many would be equal to.
But after literally wearing his boots this past season, it doesn’t seem quite as daunting for draft prospect Irving Mosquito.
Mosquito, 17, is expected to be one of the first specialist small forwards selected at this month’s national draft after bursting onto the scene with TAC Cup side Gippsland.
Originally from Halls Creek, the 175cm livewire is eligible to join Hawthorn as part of their Next Generation Academy, having moved into their catchment in his early teens.
It was while training with the Hawks during the pre-season that Rioli, his idol, gifted him a pair of boots in what seemed an ordinary gesture but could in time come to resemble a passing of the torch.
SEE HIS STORY IN THE VIDEO PLAYER ABOVE
Expected to attract a bid somewhere late in the national draft, Mosquito has pace, an drive to tackle and create pressure in the forward line, and more than a couple of tricks up his sleeve.
Should all go to plan and he be picked up by the Hawks this month, he will be the fourth Halls Creek product on an AFL list next season, joining Sam Petrevski-Seton (Cartlon), Cedric Cox (Brisbane) and Shane McAdam, who joined Adelaide as a mature-aged player during October’s trade period, in a remarkable achievement for the Kimberley town of 3,269 people.