New Bulldogs draftee was greeted with almost devastating news minutes after being picked.By Chalpat Sonti
It was almost, to borrow the famous opening line from A Tale of Two Cities, a case of the best of times and the worst of times for Josh Prudden.
The Seymour 18-year-old had just been picked at number 50 by the Western Bulldogs in the third round of the AFL Draft on Thursday night.
Fresh from that stunning decision, 20 minutes later, his life almost turned upside down again.
‘‘We heard that Dad (Tony) had just been involved in a serious truck accident and was in hospital in Wagga,’’ he said.
‘‘Having a dad that nearly died put it all in a bit of perspective.’’
Tony Prudden was a passenger in the truck which left the road near the NSW town of Temora on Thursday afternoon. He suffered cracked ribs but the driver, Seymour father-of-three Ray Hoy, was killed.
Josh Prudden spoke to his dad briefly after his selection.
‘‘He had a lot of pain-killing drugs and he was pretty out of it but I managed to tell him what had happened.’’
Prudden was still coming to terms on Saturday with how his life had turned upside down by the Draft.
‘‘I was watching it on TV with my grandparents (Don and Maureen) and I wasn’t really paying attention at the time as it was only up to pick 50. I thought if it was going to happen it might be number 100 or something.
‘‘I wasn’t all that confident. I had flights booked to Queensland on the Friday (ironically the Draft was held on the Gold Coast) to stay with an uncle and auntie and I had to cancel them.’’
But there was no doubting the jubilation in the Prudden household.
‘‘Grandma was doing cartwheels, I didn’t think she had it in her and Pa might’ve done a handstand as well. He had to pick his hamstring up off the ground.’’
Making the big time had been a dream ‘‘for ages’’ for the Collingwood fan ‘‘as it is for most of the kids in the Draft’’.
Prudden went down to Whitten Oval on Sunday and will be billeted out with a local family, but will come home at weekends, at least wehn there’s no footy on.
‘‘We were pretty naive about all that — my life changed in an instant,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s not far away but it is the city and I’m more of a country boy and we’re a pretty close family.’’
Prudden was considered an under-the-radar selection but the Bulldogs had shown plenty of interest pre-Draft.
‘‘They were calling me asking if anyone else had spoken to me, but you still never know.’’
Prudden reckoned his Assumption College coach, Bulldogs Brownlow medallist Scott Wynd, might have put in a good word for him as well.
It will also come as little surprise to local football fans. A gifted junior at St Mary’s — ‘‘I started playing when I was nine, I think I was too young, but that was it for me from there’’ — the family had a stint at Cranbourne before returning home.
He did the usual stuff — playing for the Murray Bushrangers and state sides — but he really came of age as a player in Seymour’s giant-killing finals run in the Goulburn Valley Football League this year.
Prudden was no respecter of size or reputation and was one of the stars in a team of stellar performers.
‘‘It was great having team-mates like I did around me. (Willie) Wheeler and (Ben) Clifton were absolute stars and the Colberts and everyone else, the list goes on.’’
And plenty of them — and others — have been quick to pass on their congratulations in the days since.
What’s most impressive about Prudden though is his realisation that he has only taken the first step.
‘‘I’ve been drafted but that’s a long way from getting a game yet.’’
It’s likely he might team up with Wheeler again at the Bulldogs’ VFL feeder Williamstown next season — he had aimed to try out for a few VFL sides had he missed out in the Draft ‘‘and that was all happening after I got my driver’s license’’ — and he’s also hopeful of getting up to watch a few Lions games as well.
‘‘Many, many thanks, we very much appreciate it,’’ Don Prudden said.
An armed bandit robbed a fast-food restaurant at knife-point yesterday morning.
It’s been a long journey for Tim Roadley but his dream of creating a multi-sport endurance event on the Murray River is now going to be a reality.
It was a big day for Jye McNeil on Sunday, not only celebrating his 19th birthday, but riding a double at the Tatura and Shepparton Racing Club’s meeting, including the big one, the Vraca and Varapodio Italian Plate (1600 m), on the Gerald Egan-trained Jetconi.
Echuca Football Club has signed Joel Magnabosco and Kane Morris for next season.
On Friday Rochester’s St Joseph’s Primary School opened a time capsule which was buried in the 1980s.
Waste collection in Campaspe Shire will change for two weeks during the festive season.
Valley Park Farms' egg production facility is expected to increase production and staff after a $100 000 Victorian Government grant.
Murchison’s Jane Spencer’s first exhibition It Just Dawned On Me will be on show in Shepparton in the first half of next year.
Lisa Milligan has started a new dog grooming business in Heathcote to help fund her Wild ABout Wildlife centre in Kilmore.
Alistair Davey will return to his roots to teach Cobram Primary children the joy of music.
Federal Member for Farrer Sussan Ley says plans are in the works on how to get natural gas to Deniliquin.
New Transport Accident Commission research has revealed why some young country drivers habitually take risks on regional roads.
State Member for Benalla Bill Sykes has thrown his support behind the government’s proposed new domestic animal ownership laws.
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