FORMER local and now AFL draftee Oskar Faulkhead is settling into his new environment after relocating to the Gold Coast last week.

It comes as the former Wentworth footballer was picked up by the Suns in the recent mid season draft.

The Suns used pick seven to secure the 19-year-old 182cm midfielder.

Faulkhead had his first game of football in Under 10’s at Wentworth District Football Netball Club.

“My Dad, Jason Bell, played footy and so I grew up being around footy and watching him play,” Faulkhead told Mildura Weekly.

“I played all my junior footy there and played a few seniors games when I wasn’t playing for Bendigo Pioneers.”

Faulkhead missed out on the draft last year and decided to relocate to Torquay to do preseason with Geelong in the VFL while playing in the NAB League with the Pioneers.

“Once I was selected to play in the Colgate Young Gun Series, I was given the opportunity to play two games for Geelong VFL,” Faulkhead said.

(The Colgate Young Gun Series gave Victoria’s top mid season draft prospects the opportunity to showcase their talent in a bid to make their way onto an AFL list. Victoria Metro Under 18s clashed with Victoria Country Under 18s on consecutive weekends.)

“The experience of training with Geelong took my game to another level as I was in that more professional environment with great coaches,” Faulkhead added.

Heading into the draft, Faulkhead said he was hopeful he would see how much work he had done.

“But I had no expectations of being picked up in the mid-season draft and I was still focusing on and looking towards playing good footy and not really getting my hopes up,” he said, adding a few clubs had shown interest in him.

But in the end it was the Suns who had the first opportunity to add Faulkhead to their team, and he said the feeling of learning he had been drafted was “surreal”.

“For my family to be there and experience with me was even better,” he added.

After arriving at the Gold Coast and meeting his new teammates Faulkhead expected to get right down to business.

“My expectation for myself is to keep playing consistent footy and get my head around their game plan,” he said.

“I am looking forward to being in an professional environment and getting to know the boys.”

Kall Burns, the club’s National recruiting manager, said the Suns had gone into the draft with a targeted approach to improve their list.

“We came into this mid-season draft with a clear strategy and felt the talent available allowed us an opportunity to continue to strengthen our list,” Burns said.

“Oskar is a player of high quality, has a thirst for development and has demonstrated consistent form at all levels including the NAB League, Young Guns and VFL competition in the front half of this season.”

– ZOEY ANDREWS