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'They were my No.1 preference': Jez

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 26:  Jez McLennan looks on during a Gold Coast Suns AFL training session on November 26, 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia.  (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images/AFL Media)
I was happy to get picked up anyway, but for them to trade up it meant a bit more,
SUNS Draftee Jez McLennan

While Gold Coast's first three draft picks got much of the fanfare last week, its next selection has a story just as intriguing.

Jack Lukosius (No.2), Izak Rankine (No.3) and Ben King (No.6) all went early on the first night, but rebounding defender Jez McLennan (No.23) had to wait until the first selection on day two to learn his fate.

And it was made even more special by the fact Gold Coast traded up to get the South Australian teenager, exchanging picks with West Coast to ensure it got its man.

"I was on the brink of the Thursday pick, so when I didn't get picked up, Thursday night was a sleepless night," McLennan told AFL.com.au.

READ: Jez's unorthodox draft reveal

"I was happy to get picked up anyway, but for them to trade up it meant a bit more.

"A couple of other clubs were interested as well, and these guys were my number one preference and had been most of the year, so I was rapt."

McLennan, who played five games for Central Districts in the SANFL as well as winning under-18 All Australian honours this year, was courted by a number of clubs.

He said the contact between himself and manager John Meesen was constant.

"He kept me reasonably calm. I was freaking out a bit," McLennan said.

"I heard Gold Coast were talking to him and the Swans were keen as well.

"Sydney had pick 25 and the Suns had pick 27.

"Gold Coast rung my manager to ask if the Swans were keen and he said they were, so that's when they made the deal to move up. That's how it got done."

WATCH: Jez Interview - First Day as a SUN

When his name flashed up to Gold Coast, McLennan got an immediate call from Suns coach Stuart Dew and admitted he "broke down and got pretty emotional" with excitement.

This is one 18-year-old thrilled to make the journey from South Australia to the Suns.

The keen surfer has family on the Gold Coast – lots of it – and often spends holidays at the popular Queensland location.

"I love it up here," he said.

"I spend five hours in the surf when I'm here. I live about two hours from the beach in South Australia so I make the most if it, and now it's on my doorstep. 

"I know Gold Coast are a young club and got a lot of really keen, motivated players.

"They've had a bit of a clean-out and it's the start of something new and great to be a part of. I'm really stoked."