Hawks swoop on Katanning midfielder Kade Stewart in AFL rookie draft selections
Eighteen-year-old Kade Stewart said his country upbringing would serve him well after being selected in the 2015 AFL rookie draft by Hawthorn Football Club.
The left-footer is set to head east after being picked up from WAFL's South Fremantle Football Club.
"I'm probably the rough and tumble bloke, and I'll always enjoy being at the bottom of the pack," he told ABC Great Southern Breakfast.
"It must be the country upbringing and being from the bush, so obviously that's a decent trait to have in you."
The former Katanning Wanderer said support had continued to pour in from his Great Southern hometown since the announcement was made late last week.
"It's been through the roof actually — all the support from the community has been unbelievable."
Mr Stewart said his family in Katanning cheered the loudest over the news.
"They were over the moon when they found out — they jumped for glory," he said.
"They just knew all the hard work had paid off."
The Stewart family know the pressures of a gruelling training schedule, having made the three-hour commute from Katanning to Perth regularly.
"Obviously coming from the country we had to travel a lot up to Perth for training," Stewart said.
"That highway [Albany Highway] got a bit beaten.
"I eventually had to move up [to Perth] to follow my dream in footy.
"It's paid off and hopefully there's another long road ahead."
Stewart said his parents would show their support by changing allegiances from the West Coast Eagles to the Hawks.
"Yeah, they've jumped on the bandwagon already. That's fine with me," he laughed.
Slow internet connection brings long-awaited news
Stewart discovered by text message that he had been added to Hawthorn's rookie list.
"I was waiting for the internet to refresh to see the picks, and before [my computer] refreshed, text messages started to come through to say congratulations on being a Hawk," he said.
He said he was honoured to be a part of the team that had won the last three premierships.
"It's a good thing for sure, because obviously they're the best and you're learning from the best," Stewart said.
"That's the only way you're going to improve your footy."
Bulking up for senior list
Rookies must be elevated to the senior list before being able to play in the AFL and Stewart said that elevation was his next goal as a Hawk.
"It doesn't really faze me if it takes me two years to get a debut game, just as long as I'm learning and take a step forward every day," he said.
"You've just got to work extra hard and just get that elevation."
At 180 centimetres tall and weighing 70 kilograms, Mr Stewart is considered lean for a midfielder and said he hoped to bulk up during the preseason.