Plenty of buzz about Mosquito at AFL draft

Anne Simmons


Gippsland Power will farewell three of its brightest players as Irving Mosquito, Xavier Duursma and Noah Gown were all picked up in last week’s AFL national draft.

Mosquito will move to Essendon after being taken at pick 38, despite being likely to go to Hawthorn as the club’s nominated Next Generation Academy member.

Power talent manager Peter Francis said the 18-year-old forward was an “absolute excitement machine” and could be the next Michael Long.

“The other thing is he’s an absolutely great young man,” Francis said.

“It just happens that he can play football.”

Mosquito moved from Halls Creek in the Kimberley region to Briagolong with teachers Mick and Sharne Roberts when he was 12 to pursue his interest in becoming a park ranger.

The Gippsland Grammar student speaks three Aboriginal languages.

Francis said his 2018 season was “curtailed” by a hamstring injury from school athletics which meant his absence from the Vic Country side in the AFL Under-18 Championships.

Power captain, Duursma, was a player “over the moon” at the prospect of starting training with Port Adelaide.

“It’s really difficult to get drafted, but to get pick 18 in the first round is an absolutely magnificent effort,” Francis said.

Duursma represented Vic Country this year at the national championships where he was “really dominant”.

Francis said he had a fantastic season where he led the team both on and off the field.

“Sometimes captaincy can be a bit of a noose around a player’s neck at this level but he seems to thrive with captaincy a lot. His leadership is like the way he plays,” Francis said.

His “very brave” character comes out when he leaps in the air for marks and is “super quick” on the field with a “big motor”, according to Francis.

Francis said Duursma prepared for games as well as any great player he had seen, and with his family lineage in AFL, “he was always one” who would make it to this level.

Duursma’s father Dean was drafted to Sydney and Melbourne as was his uncle, Jamie, who also played for Brisbane.

“He’s a super young man, credit to his parents, and he’s from Foster and Foster footy club deserve a lot of recognition as well,” Francis said.

Warragul Football Club player Noah Gown seemed more likely for a career in basketball having “only played a handful of games since he was 11 or 12”, but was nabbed by Essendon at pick 60.

“Essendon has a wonderful pick there,” Francis said.