Garcia growing at the Saints

Hugo Garcia at his new home in Moorabbin (ST Kilda F.C.)

Harper Sercombe

Calder Cannons’ young-gun Hugo Garcia was one of just two Cannons selected in last month’s AFL draft and after spending a couple of weeks living out his dream, he is loving every minute of it.

“It’s all pretty exciting, just doing what I love, coming in here, getting to work every day, it just feels like a dream at the moment,” Garcia said.

The midfielder-forward was picked up by St Kilda with pick 50, with the Saints trading up in the draft order with Greater Western Sydney handing over a future third-round selection for pick 50 to secure the Cannons product.

“Heading into the draft I didn’t have too many expectations, there were some nerves kicking in when I woke up for the second day [of the draft],” Garcia said.

“I had all of my friends and family over, and they were there to support me throughout the day because I was pretty nervous but when my name got called out it was pretty overwhelming and I’m just thankful for the opportunity.

“I had a rough idea [that St Kilda was going to select me] but nothing was set in stone, so when they called me out it was pretty overwhelming and one of the best feelings ever really.

“I’m really thankful for St Kilda to give me the opportunity to fulfil my dream and I can’t wait to keep getting to work and improving every day.”

The former Greenvale and Taylors Lakes speed machine had an impressive start to the Coates Talent League season with eight goals in the first five rounds, before finding more of the football further afield. He averaged 19.54 disposals across his 11 matches in the league, as well as seven tackles and 3.45 inside 50s.

Being able to take his talents to Moorabbin has been an eye opener for Garcia, and has had some expert help under some great tutelage.

“They’ve all been pretty welcoming but I’d say the main one is Lenny Hayes,” he said. “He’s my lines coach, he’s been really helpful with me helping me throughout the day and coming to do extra work with me to help me improve,” he said.

“From a players’ point of view Mason Wood has been really welcoming to me, helping me with extra stuff like vision and stuff out on the ground and in the gym.

“Also Anthony Caminiti, I’ve been living with him from when I got drafted so he’s helped me at home with the off field stuff.

“We have pretty similar personalities, so to live with him has been pretty cool, I go with him into the club on the weekend, we do recover together, eat the same food and that type of thing so it’s been good.”

With the Christmas break quickly approaching for the Saints and Garcia, he said he is remaining steadfast on his mission to continuously improve himself and his football.

“At the moment I’m just trying to get my body right, I’ve got a bit of hamstring tendonitis but I should be good in about a week’s time,” he said.

“Once that’s right I’m just going to focus on getting better every day, doing the extras, extra tough, extra recovery, just try to learn as much as possible from everyone.

“Just getting better every day is my main goal and an AFL debut in round one would be a bonus.”