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Class of 2019: The top-20 prospect in a family of 10 brothers and sisters

Sam De Koning in action for Vic Country during the U18 Champs. All pictures: AFL Photos

BEING the second youngest sibling of 10 brothers and sisters has meant many things for Sam De Koning.

Not least of all has it allowed the 18-year-old, who is a possible top-20 pick at this week’s NAB AFL Draft, to study how his family members have achieved their goals.

“I’m a lot younger than most of them,” De Koning told AFL.com.au.

“It was a pretty hectic upbringing. I had lots of fights with my brothers and a lot of good times in the backyard playing sports.

“My brother’s 20 and my sister’s 17 and the rest are 25 to 32. They’re all doing different things. One’s a nurse, one’s a doctor, one’s a firefighter, one’s a band manager.

“They give me a lot of inspiration to follow my dreams in life and that’s the biggest thing that’s helped me.”

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One, of course, is also a footballer – and it’s about to become two in the family.

Tom De Koning was drafted by Carlton two years ago, and although he has only managed two senior appearances so far, is tracking well as a developing ruckman/forward.

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Sam, who has garnered interest from Adelaide, Geelong and Port Adelaide, is set to join him in the big time, having studied his progress closely.

“It was a lifelong dream for him but also for me, I’m a Carlton supporter at heart since I was a kid,” he said.

“Seeing him play AFL footy has been a huge inspiration for me and a huge motivator for my career thus far. He’s shown me what it takes to be an AFL player thus far and I take a lot from his experiences.”

>> Follow the 2019 NAB AFL Draft on Fox Footy from 6.30pm AEDT on Wednesday, November 27 and Thursday, November 28. Not a Foxtel or Kayo subscriber? Cal Twomey, Nat Edwards, Riley Beveridge and Mitch Cleary bring you Draft Night Live on AFL.com.au and the AFL Live Official App, from 6.30pm AEDT on Wednesday, November 27.

De Koning may also take some time to develop, but he has shown promising signs throughout 2019.

Before an ankle injury cut short his campaign, De Koning had stamped himself as one of the better key defenders in the pool.

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He was named an All Australian backman for his performances for Vic Country, when he averaged five marks a game and showed his athleticism and mobility for a 201cm prospect.

De Koning, whose father Terry also played 31 games for the Bulldogs between 1980-82, can also play as a forward and pinch-hit in the ruck, making him an appealing option for clubs late in the first round or early in the second.

“I had a fairly good year I think. Early on I was a bit inconsistent but I was working on my backline craft a lot,” he said.

“I think I do have a lot of upside. Although I’ve played a lot of time in the backline I still have a lot of things to learn and I still have a lot of things to learn in different positions as well.

“I’m more than capable of playing up forward or in the ruck, so I think I can bring a pretty broad and raw person to an AFL club and could be put anywhere and be determined to do well.”

>> Catch all the build-up to the 2019 NAB AFL Draft in our Draft Countdown Live. Cal Twomey, Riley Beveridge and Mitch Cleary will interview coaches, recruiters and prospective draftees over two massive days from 2pm AEDT on Tuesday, November 26 and Wednesday, November 27.

Source: AFL FOOTBALL NEWS