“Mad Pies fan” McMullin hopes for chance

PORT Fairy’s Toby McMullin has grown up bleeding black and white. It is little surprise that the Sandringham Dragons forward/midfielder and Vic Country representative has been conditioned to following the Magpies, a club where his father Ian played 25 games, and then served on the board for over two decades.

“I’m a mad Collingwood supporter, my hero is Scott Pendlebury and dad played there for a few years and was a director there for 20 years,” McMullin said.

“It’s been great. For the most part of supporting the Pies have been pretty good so it’s been good to see a range go through and players I try to model my game off and just have a lot of passion for the Pies. Watching them, it’s been great.”

McMullin is a realist however, with Collingwood likely to just use its two second round selections in the second half of tonight’s draft, and though it would “mean the world” to himself and be “unreal” for his family, he concedes donning the black and white would be a “pretty slim chance”.

In terms of his options, McMullin said he has no issues travelling interstate. The hard-working utility already boards at Melbourne Grammar – hence the Sandringham Dragons yet Vic Country zoning – and he “just wants to play footy”.

Playing predominantly forward in 2022, McMullin is one with midfield aspirations, but admitted he still has some areas of improvement. He hopes to build his endurance base further to compete for longer onball, where he can dominate with his speed and skills.

“My explosiveness around the ball and my skills left and right foot (are strengths), I try to pride myself on being able to take the game on by using my skills,” McMullin said. “Definitely building my tank as much as I can (is an improvement). I feel like at the start of the year coming into more of a professional program with the Dragons, I was a little bit behind, but I feel like I’ve been able to catch up. It’s just continually about building the tank so I can continually work on that and move into the midfield more.”

It was not hard to work out a favourite memory from 2022, with McMullin pointing out the Dragons’ NAB League Boys flag. Given the disruptions to the Sandringham team during the year with school footballers out, McMullin was pleased the team could get together and taste success in the finals series.

“With APS boys coming out it was a bit hard during the season, but for the last five weeks of the season we were able to get really close and ended up winning the flag together which was really special and that’s definitely a special memory,” he said.

McMullin said Dragons teammate now Lions draftee, Will Ashcroft was the best player he had played alongside, describing him as a “machine” with his professionalism. At the national carnival, Geelong Falcons skipper turned Geelong Cats draftee Jhye Clark was the other who impressed him with his ability and work rate.

In his own right, McMullin earned a National Draft Combine invite, and though the first night is in the books, the Port Fairy talent was always anticipating a night two selection if any. Now it is a case of waiting and seeing if a club will give him a chance, but McMullin was thrilled to get an invite to the combine at the very least.

“I think it was a real feeling of satisfaction, obviously put in a fair bit of work in the offseason and during the season to get there, so it was a nice bit reward for a bit of hard work put in,” McMullin said.

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