For Wagner, an electrician from Port Lincoln, South Australia, the contract was a dream come true and one he spookily foretold when he was much younger.
“When I was in Year 7 we wrote a letter to our future self which we put in a wine bottle and we were allowed to open them when we were 21,” he told TV Tonight.
“I’d forgotten about the letter but Dad had kept it and he opened it up, and it said I wanted to play for Port Adelaide. So the dream has come true, I guess.”
Wagner defeated Bradie Foster (25, Albany Creek, QLD) and Chris Moreland (24, Geelong, VIC) in second and third places respectively.
Attending the Live to Air finale hosted by Ryan ‘Fitzy’ Fitzgerald, was AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan, AFL executives and representatives from all 18 clubs. A special AFL draft was officiated which saw three teams offer the winner a contract: Port Adelaide, Gold Coast Suns and Greater Western Sydney, with Wagner generously allowed to choose the club of his choice. Thankfully Port Adelaide CEO David Koch offered him a contract as a Category B rookie.
“I was very relieved. I’ve got a new fiancée. I’ve always barracked for Port because they’re the home state, and it will make the move easier for myself and her,” he said.
“I like the way Port is heading and their game style.”
Wagner very nearly didn’t make it onto the Foxtel reality series.
“I actually said no to coming onto the show. I had signed for Central Districts (team) and decided to stay there,” he continued.
“When they said I was in the Final 50 I declined the offer. But the Producer rang me and said he thought I could go far. (Coach Michael) Vossy rang me as well and reckoned the same thing. Now here I am and I’ve taken the show out.
“I’m glad I came on it, the opportunity has been great.”
The series has been a hit for Foxtel, topping STV ratings and landing a second season for 2015.
Potential players can register at www.fox8.tv/therecruit.