MELBOURNE has signed midfielder Corey Wagner under the AFL’s new rookie rule.
Wagner joins the Demons in the recently-introduced Pre-Season Supplemental Selection Period (SPP), after he withdrew his nomination from the upcoming AFL Draft.
The move confirmed his eligibility under the new guidelines, with General Manager of Football Operations, Josh Mahoney, pleased to secure the 21-year-old talent.
“Corey Wagner qualified under the new AFL rule, allowing a player to be added to our list from December 1,” Mahoney told Melbourne Media.
“By committing to Corey now, we can guarantee him a place on our rookie list, rather than waiting for the Draft and risking another team taking him.”
Wagner currently works as a barista at Cheeky Monkey Cafe in Richmond (Photo: Darcy O'Loghlen)
Wagner will begin at the red and blue next month, with SPP-eligible players unable to train prior to December 1.
The ex-North Melbourne player – he spent two seasons on the Kangaroos’ list before joining the Casey Demons – had a standout season in the VFL.
He became an integral part of the Casey group, taking home the club’s best and fairest award.
“Corey had a fantastic season playing for the Casey Demons under Jade Rawlings,” Mahoney said.
“We feel that his AFL experience with North Melbourne, his physical attributes and his flexibility in his role will make him a welcome addition to our list.
“We look forward to bringing Corey into our program full time next month.”
Wagner, who is the younger brother of Melbourne-listed player Josh, was elated to receive the news.
After quite the build-up, the midfielder said it was a reprieve to be secured prior to the Draft.
“It’s a bit of a relief now – I just want to get into it,” Wagner told Melbourne Media.
“The whole last week I was just stressed at work, but it was an easy decision to go with Melbourne straight away.”
Having experienced the AFL system before, Wagner knows what is required at the elite level and is ready to attack the pre-season.
“I can just go straight back into what I know, and I can improve on what I went from [during my time at North Melbourne],” he said.
“I thought I was ready to play AFL this year, but not being able to have the chance like I do now.
“I will just be working on my strengths, which is running, ball carrying and kicking, and then my weaknesses; just getting stronger in my hips so I can explode out of some packs and create some run for the team.”
Originally from Queensland, Wagner was taken at pick No.43 in the 2015 National Draft and made his debut in round 13, 2016.
He joined the Casey Demons at the end of last year, and has eight AFL games to his name to date.