Fremantle have completed a local trifecta with their top three draft picks, snaring Matt Johnson with the opening selection of the second round after the WA midfielder was sensationally overlooked on the first night.
Johnson was the hard-luck story of the first round. The Subiaco product was one of three Western Australians invited to RAC Arena for the draft function, but was left out among the top 20 picks.
Johnson, 191cm midfielder from North Beach, wiped away tears as he celebrated his selection with his family at home.
“It’s an unreal moment. Having everyone around and the relief of the moment brought out the emotion in me,” he said.
“It was a mix of joy and relief. It’s just a dream come true.”
It marked emotion of a different kind to 24 hours earlier, where he was consoled by Erasmus after being overlooked.
The pick-up represents a coup for Freo after Johnson had been flagged by most analysts to go inside the top dozen selections.
The Dockers added to their WA haul by locking in next-generation academy product Eric Benning with Pick 54.
Benning, who hails from Waringarri, Kununurra, is a 196cm ruck/forward whose athletic qualities and versatility was too good for Freo to pass up.
The 18-year-old childhood Dockers supporter said he “owed” Fremantle, who nurtured him as an NGA product.
“Fremantle helped a lot. Being at the club, learning as much as I can. It’s such a good experience to spend a bit of time at the club.
“I think I’m going to feel pretty comfortable there having spent time there before.”