Essendon Football Club draft Murray Bridge's Brandon Zerk-Thatcher

Sturt senior coach Martin Mattner, Brandon Zerk-Thatcher and Sturt Football Manager Chris Trapp.

Sturt senior coach Martin Mattner, Brandon Zerk-Thatcher and Sturt Football Manager Chris Trapp.

It’s the dream of many young footballers to have the opportunity to play at the highest level and local boy Brandon Zerk-Thatcher has taken a huge step to making his dream a reality. 

Zerk-Thatcher was selected by the Essendon Football Club with pick 66 in Friday night’s AFL Draft, but wasn’t entirely confident as the drafting began. 

“I didn’t want to get ahead of myself,” he said. 

“The club did give me a call the morning of and told me that I was in contention, but that just made me a bit more nervous.”

After a solid Under 18 Championships for South Australia and 2017 season for the Sturt Football Club, Zerk-Thatcher had done enough to impress the Bombers coaching staff.

Essendon senior coach John Worsfold said Zerk-Thatcher filled a missing gap of a young key defender to develop.

“Brandon is a developing key defender, something we really felt we needed on our list to slowly come through the system and be ready to step up when he is ready to go,” Worsfold said.

Brandon is a developing key defender, something we really felt we needed on our list to slowly come through the system and be ready to step up when he is ready to go

John Worsfold

List and recruiting manager Adrian Dodoro thought Zerk-Thatcher would be terrific for the club.

DON THE SASH: Murray Bridge Brandon Zerk-Thatcher is Essendon-bound after being selected by the Bombers in the 2017 AFL Draft. Photo: Supplied.

DON THE SASH: Murray Bridge Brandon Zerk-Thatcher is Essendon-bound after being selected by the Bombers in the 2017 AFL Draft. Photo: Supplied.

“He really will respect the fact that he has been given this opportunity and just speaking to him on the phone he is really, really happy,” he said.

Murray Bridge High School student councellor Isaac McEvoy said Zerk-Thatcher was the high schools first AFL draftee.

“He was an extremely hard working student who graduated from Murray Bridge High School in 2016,” he said.

He said seeing Zerk-Thatcher win the running vertical jump was no surprise, as he was only three centimetres from setting a school record last year.  

Zerk-Thatcher will be joined at the Dons by Sturt teammate Jordan Houlahan who was chosen with pick 49.

“Having Jordan coming along will hopefully help make the transition a lot smoother,” he said. “I’m definitely looking forward to seeing him at the airport.”

Zerk-Thatcher flew out of Adelaide Airport at 4pm Monday November 27, keen to start working towards the 2018 season. 

“Our first session will be on Wednesday,” he said. “I can’t wait to get into it.”