Former Australia Test cricketer Matthew Elliott’s youngest son will continue to pursue his AFL dream in the VFL after being overlooked in last month’s drafts.
Will Elliott was invited back to Coates Talent League powerhouse the Oakleigh Chargers this year as an overage player, having gone close to being drafted as an 18-year-old in 2022.
Clubs passed him up then, but continued to monitor the 203cm forward-ruck in his 19th year, and again considered taking him at the mid-season draft in May.
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And while the once-touted first-round pick didn’t do enough to entice an AFL club to take a punt on him, Elliott did catch the eye of VFL outfit Northern Bullants, who have signed him for 2024.
Matthew played 21 Tests for Australia and was known as a technically sound, stylish, left-handed batter who scored over 17,000 first-class runs.
His other son, Sam, is a budding state cricketer for Victoria who made his debut for the Melbourne Stars in 2021-2022.
But while Matthew may have passed on some sporting talent through the bloodlines to Sam, he joked ahead of last year’s AFL draft that Will’s talent with the oval-shaped ball must have come from elsewhere.
“I try and guide him through my Kyabram reserves footy days as a crafty half-forward,” Elliott told 7NEWS last year.
“I never laid an effective tackle in my whole footy playing days, so he has got me covered in that respect.”
Will Elliott and his father, Matthew, talk to 7NEWS. Credit: Seven
Will said his dad loved to reminisce about his halcyon days in cricket, having watched the brilliant 112 Matthew made at Lord’s during the second Test of the 1997 Ashes tour a number of times.
“He loves to chuck on YouTube once in a while and show us how it’s done,” Will said.
Will said he modelled his game on Richmond’s star spearhead Tom Lynch.
“As a forward, Tom Lynch … the way he attacks the ball in the air is pretty special,” Will said.
“(I like to think I have) similar strengths to him in that aspect.”
Will had been hyped as a potential first-round selection in early 2022 before being struck down with a knee injury that condemned him to just two games for the Chargers in that season.
“It was a bit worrying, but at the end of the day, what more can I do?” he said, after having rehabilitated from the injury.
“I’m not going to go out there with a broken leg and crutches and try and kick a goal.”
Matthew said even while injured, Will was a valuable support for his teammates.
Matthew Elliott in action against England during the second Test Match at Lord’s in 1997. Credit: Clive Mason/Getty Images
“The skills he has learnt will hold him in really good stead if he gets an opportunity,” Matthew said.
“Whatever support role you can play for other players, and help them when you’re not playing.
“Hopefully a club sees an opportunity in him as a player.”
AFL national talent manager Kevin Sheehan said at the time that there was some serious upside to the big man.
“No doubt there will be some interest,” Sheehan said.
“Clubs will be tempted, but they have little to go on.
“That doesn’t mean they won’t be brave and back their judgement that he (Will) could be a tall forward in the AFL in the years to come.”