AFL draft 2018: Irving Mosquito starts Essendon training
Lauren Wood, Herald Sun
The Mosquito has landed.
Essendon welcomed its four draftees at Tullamarine today, with Irving Mosquito causing a buzz already.
The excited – and nervous – teenager was taken at pick 38 by the Bombers on Friday having watched the draft at his second home in Gippsland, where he played TAC Cup with the Power.
And while the Kimberley product admits he is still adjusting to Melbourne life – and weather – he can’t wait to get stuck into life as an AFL player.
“I’m ready to get going,” he said with a beaming smile.
“I’m just keen for preseason and excited to be here.”
Essendon recruits Irving Mosquito, Tom Jok, Brayden Ham and Noah Gown at Tullamarine. Picture: Michael Klein
Bombers star Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti – who also lived in and played for Gippsland as a teenager – is a favourite, with Mosquito already taking the opportunity to meet his new teammate this morning.
“I love him and I love how he goes,” he said.
“I had a chat to him this morning when I came in, so I was pretty happy. I had a big smile.”
Mosquito, 18, moved from Halls Creek – almost 700km east of Broome – to Victoria when he was 11, with his family still back home in the Western Australia community.
He has moved in with new teammate Orazio Fantasia while things get sorted, and said he believed having spent his teenage years living away from home would stand him in good stead.
But city life is a whole different kettle of fish to Gippsland for the teen, whose shivers were evident on a chilly morning in Tullamarine.
“It’s way different (living in the city), seeing everyone around,” he said.
“It’s a way different lifestyle. It’s pretty cool. Sometimes I’m really cold.”
Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti at Bombers pre-season training. Picture: Michael Klein
He said he was proud to be joining a club with such a strong connection to the indigenous community and that he had smiled when he saw the statue of Michael Long at the club’s front door, but is expecting some fun from commentators with his unique name.
But there’s one thing to remember – he doesn’t play like anyone else, “just Irving Mosquito”.
“Yeah, I reckon (Bruce) McAvaney will have a bit of an impact with my last name,” he said.
“(My nickname is) just Mozzie, I don’t mind that.”
Andrew McGrath wrestles with Dylan Shiel. Picture: Michael Klein