In the space of 24 hours Mitch Riordan’s life changed completely.
He went from being a university student studying an applied science course to a footballer for the Gold Coast SUNS.
He heard the news on Monday night surrounded by friends and family, he had been taken with pick 2 in the mid-season draft by the Gold Coast SUNS.
Everything has been a blur for Riordan since then, packing his bags to catch an 11am flight the next day bound for the Gold Coast where he would begin his AFL career.
Riordan spent the afternoon touring the facilities and meeting his teammates, trying his best to soak everything up after a whirlwind two days.
“The guys have all been really accommodating so it’s been really exciting,” Riordan told SUNS Media.
“Heaps of handshakes and stuff but I know Sam Fletcher and Ben King so it’s been good to see those blokes again.”
Riordan is a dynamic inside midfielder who possesses a burst of speed which helps him accelerate from stoppages.
The 19-year-old played for the Dandenong Stingrays in the 2018 TAC Cup and helped them to a premiership.
He also played for Vic Country in the Under 18 Championships alongside Fletcher before a hamstring injury threw his draft hopes into a spin.
“In your 18th year you want everything to go really well for yourself and I got struck down with a hamstring injury during the Champs so that was pretty tough,” Riordan said.
“But a lot of people supported me and I think over the break I’ve really got some good form through practice games and was able to bring that into this year and I’ve just been building on that.
“It’s been a really positive start to the year.”
Overlooked in the national draft last year due to the injury, Riordan said the introduction of the new mid-season draft format this year motivated him to get back to his best.
“It gave me something to work towards,” he said.
“I got myself in a really good position recently with having some good form and got some interest from some clubs.
“But as you know there’s no guarantee with these things so I was kind of wary that it could not happen as well.
“If I wasn’t to be playing I would still be in a really good position so I just thought just play the best footy you can and it will look after itself.”
In his first week at his new club, Riordan isn’t putting any undue pressure on himself.
He’s moved in with Sam Collins and Corey Ellis and is still trying to wrap his head around the prospect of being a professional footballer.
Riordan said when he starts to play, he initially sees himself as a half-back, but could pinch-hit in the midfield if required down the track.
“I know it’s completely different from Under 18’s football so I think acclimatising to that next level would probably have to happen first,” Riordan said.
“Obviously getting the respect of the boys and learning the gameplan is probably paramount at the moment.
“But I’m really excited to play anywhere and just represent Gold Coast.”