AFL Draft: The character of fresh-faced Lion Jaspa Fletcher summed up in one humble post-draft act: ‘Stayed up till 1am’

It was the greatest moment of Jaspa Fletcher’s life when his name was read out at pick No. 12 of the AFL draft on Monday night.

The Brisbane Lions father-son talent – son of former Brisbane Lions and Bears midfielder Adrian – received a pricey offer from the Western Bulldogs back in the first round of the draft, but the Lions wasted no time in fulfilling the offer and join the domestic academy to secure talent.

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Fletcher joined Lions father-son prodigy Will Ashcroft in the first round as Brisbane pulled off one of the best draft hauls in the competition.

Understandably, Fletcher’s phone started ringing after his big moment with messages of support from more than a hundred friends and family.

With so much going on in what was a chaotic but happy night for the 18-year-old, he would have been forgiven if he had let a few slip and not answered – at least until the next day.

Not Fletcher – he couldn’t go to sleep without replying to every single message.

“I had about 150 text messages after my name was read,” he said Thursday afternoon, speaking for the first time as a Lion.

“I think I stayed up until about 1am to make sure I replied to everyone, which was a pretty cool experience.”

Jaspa Fletcher and Will Ashcroft were both first-round draft picks for the Lions. Recognition: Getty

The classy winger has every chance of sneaking into Brisbane’s best 22 at some point during the 2023 season if not round one, but he comes into the preseason with an existing injury he needs to overcome first.

“I am very happy to be here. It’s disappointing to come in with a stress fracture in my back, but I’ve only got two weeks into rehab, which is great,” he said.

“The medical team and the people at the club are great people. I have no doubt they will help me through the process and I will be out in the park ready to get started soon.

“I didn’t look too far ahead. My goal right now, to be honest, is just making sure my body is okay. That’s the main thing for me, and then whatever happens happens.

“I’d obviously like to play as early as possible, but for now I’m just concentrating on getting my body in order.”

Jaspa Fletcher speaks at Brisbane’s new training base on Thursday afternoon. Recognition: Brisbane Lions Twitter

Ashcroft, widely regarded as the unequivocal best player in the 2022 draft pool, despite being drafted second-choice – purely due to his father-son status – barring an injury, almost certainly will start Chris Fagan is round on one side and could even be in midfield at first impact.

“Absolutely the goal is to be on one side this round,” he said on Thursday.

“I’m taking it day by day at the moment and there’s still a lot to do before then, but that’s certainly the goal. There’s a really strong midfield group here, so I think I have to be versatile.

“It was great to be out on track yesterday. I’m just really excited to be here and getting started, it’s great.”

Epic bar chants erupt for new AFL draftee George Wardlaw.

Epic bar chants erupt for new AFL draftee George Wardlaw. AFL Draft: The character of fresh-faced Lion Jaspa Fletcher summed up in one humble post-draft act: ‘Stayed up till 1am’

James Brien

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