ADELAIDE'S newest rookie - mature-age Sturt premiership player Patrick Wilson - is the best kick in the SANFL and deserves an opportunity to showcase it at AFL level according to his coach Martin Mattner.
Mattner helped convince Wilson to return to football two years ago after he'd lost his passion for the game.
And despite shoulder surgery forcing him to miss Sturt's 2016 flag, Wilson returned bigger and better to be part of this year's premiership and the SANFL team of the year.
Port Adelaide was also very interested in the midfielder/half-forward but the Crows swooped with their first pick in this year's rookie draft at No.17.
"He's got the talent (to play), I think he's the best kick in the SANFL," Mattner said.
"That's where he's elite, that's what he's good at and if he can get an opportunity that's what he'll be able to showcase.
"Putting my coaching hat on I'm disappointed to see him go but as a person I think it's great for him.
"I love Patty, had a lot to do with him the last two years and where he's come from when we sat down and had a conversation about just coming out to training.
"He gave it away (in 2015) because he'd lost his love for footy but we gave him a call and he said he'd got his passion back
"So we took little steps and basically the first was just to get out and training.
"He did that and then wanted to play, so we were pretty lucky."
Mattner, who played 222 AFL games with Adelaide and Sydney before guiding the Double Blues to back-to-back flags, said Wilson had shown great resolve to return from last year's injury.
"He's worked really hard the last 18 months after his shoulder surgery to get back to where he is now and to get the opportunity he wanted as a kid, to try to play AFL, he's got that dream now."
Wilson stands 188cm and 88kg and was used by Mattner as a half-back in 2016 then "fourth midfielder and forward" this season, kicking 18 goals in 19 games
"He's a big lad and he's already pretty developed and a strong guy," Mattner said.
"He had a really good pre-season, a great season and deserves everything he's got to be drafted.
Sturt capped an amazing season in 2017 by winning three flags - the under-18s, reserves and league - then having five players taken in the national draft and Wilson selected as a rookie.
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