By Peter Argent

Debuting on “The Recruit”, FOX8’s new football program last night continues a big 12 months for Johann Wagner.
It was only in July last year Wagner started to come under notice of the wider football community.
He played in his first Mortlock Shield (an annual interleague competition going for over 70 years on the West Coast of SA) a month earlier, at 22, and won selection of the Western (Eyre Peninsula) Zone for the first time.
His performance at Port Pirie earned him a place in the “team of the championships” and a trip to Perth to play for SA country, where he kicked eight goals in a best on ground display in the win over Sandgroper in a contest at Leederville Oval.
“Last year was the first time I player in either in the Mortlock Shield or the Country Champs for the EP,” Wagner, a 190cm, 88 kg strong marking athletic forward, said.
“This year I had two games in the reserves at Central District, before going away to ‘The Recruit’.
“When I came back being promoted straight into the league side was a bit of a pleasant surprise.
“I was reasonably happy with the initial hit out, except a couple shots at goal. I have never kicked so badly.
“Against Adelaide in the following game, in a contest just after half time, they initially thought I did my ACL.
“Pleasingly the diagnosis wasn’t that bad.
“I did get bone bruising, stretched ligaments and a torn capsule in the back of my leg.
“At this stage I’m still hoping to get back for the final three games of this season.”
In community football Wagner had a connection with both the Port Lincoln Football League (PLFL) and South Clare in the North Eastern competition.
He started at Lincoln South in under 11s, before going around the coast and playing for the Demons in Clare at under 14s level.
His under 17s football and first A grade game in Port Lincoln was with the Marble Range Magpies.
“In 2008 I moved across to Tasmans and remember kicking eight goals in my first game,” Wagner, now 23, said.
“The next year I tried to get a game with Port Adelaide underage teams, but spent most of the year at South Clare, because of I struggled to get a game at Alberton.
“From 2010 I have been back at Tasmans.”
In his stellar 2013 season Wagner kicked 87 goals in 13 games with his home club, and with another 20 goals at Mortlock, Country Championships and state level, finished with a total of 107.
He also enjoyed premiership success in the PLFL, after missing out on the previous September’s glory at Tasmans due to injury.  
Wagner was impressive with Roy Laird’s professionalism, and his helped convince him to ply his skills at the Ponderosa, instead of taking up offers from West or Glenelg.
While for legal reasons we can confirmed that Wagner only made to top 13 at the moment, it is common knowledge he was away from the Central Districts program for two months.
“If you watch the first episode, I had a handy opening match, kicking eight goals,” Wagner said.
“The experience was up there with the best I had in my life so far.
“You made some firm friendship, although you were competing against each other.” 
The AFL  have confirmed it will hold a special AFL Draft meeting on Wednesday September 17, 2014 for all clubs who wished to consider selecting a player who had partaken in the upcoming Foxtel show on FOX8, “The Recruit”, which goes to air tonight.
AFL General Counsel Andrew Dillon said the AFL Commission had determined that the player selected at this Draft could be placed on club lists as a Category B rookie.
All clubs have the right to participate in the draft meeting, but it is not compulsory to make a bid or selection for a player.
“The Recruit” will be broadcast at 7.30pm on Wednesdays on FOX8, with an encore screening on FOX FOOTY on Sunday nights at 8.30pm.
While aspects of the Draft / selection process will become clear through the course of the 10-week run of the show, all 18 AFL clubs will have an opportunity to select the winner of “The Recruit” through the live Draft selection process scheduled for the final episode on September 17.
Players need be 20 years of age on or before 31 December 2013 and may not have been on an AFL Primary or Rookie List at any time previously in their career.

 Wagner takes a grab in the Round 1 Reserves Match against the Eagles at Woodville back on April 5
 Pictures by Peter Argent

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