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Former East Brighton Vampire and junior Melbourne Tiger basketballer Patrick Bines has turned down three Melbourne AFL clubs, taking up a spot on the Category B Rookie list with the West Coast Eagles for the 2019 season.

The 19-year old trained with Hawthorn, toured Essendon’s facilities and was in talks with North Melbourne and Gold Coast, ultimately deciding to have a fresh start and head over to the west.

“I prefer to go interstate as a personal preference, for a brand-new start and it’s a really good lifestyle over there from what I’ve seen,” Bines told NAB AFL Trade Radio.

“I’ve got some really good people to learn from at West Coast.

“They’ve got a really good list there and there’s some really good players I can learn from, so I’m just going to do the best I can and do all the extras.”

Bines said he had initially been shocked when the Eagles made a move, given he last played Australian football seven years ago, but his athleticism and height were standouts to AFL recruiters. He has an impressive list of achievements within his basketball career, representing Victoria at under 16 and 18 level, and playing in the 2016 world championships in Spain as an under 17-year-old.

Bines also played at SEABL level for the Melbourne Tigers this season, which is where recruiters initially spotted him. Many clubs had sent representatives to SEABL games this year, with AFL recruiters said to be paying more attention to unconventional talent pathways.

“I just a got a call one day and was able to meet with them at a coffee shop,” he said.

“From there, there was a small trial in Melbourne to have a kick and some basic skills and then I was invited up to Perth for a two-day trial up there.”

Bines stands at 198cm, and with Scott Lycett off to Port Adelaide and Nic Naitanui to miss some of the 2019 season with a knee injury, opportunities for Bines could come earlier than expected. He is currently working on developing and transferring his skills to suit the AFL avenue.

“I think one of the big things with moving from basketball to footy is that quick thinking, where you’ve got split-second decisions you have to make; if you’re going to go, if you’re not,” he said.

“I’m fairly agile on the court so I think I’ve just got to work on my 20m sprint and being able to lead up to the ball and take a good mark.

“I’m just going to go into pre-season like I’m going to play round one.”

Congratulations to Patrick on his new opportunities, we wish him all the best at West Coast!

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