Johann Wagner wins The Recruit

Recruit9416lr23 year old South Australian Johann Wagner has won Foxtel series The Recruit and signed an AFL contract with Port Adelaide Football Club.

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


  1. Great show.Best reality show in a long time.Forget about that other FTA reality rubbish.Sure the show dragged on a bit in the last episode.But i wouldn’t say that was uncommon like what other shows do in a Grand Final ep.Would have been good to see him pick Gold Coast.With the team on the rise and needing that type of player he would have got a good amount of ground time.But at Port he will have less of a opportunity to impress.Anyway Good Luck to him

  2. Luckily for me I didn’t watch it live and was able to fast forward about two thirds of the show. As mentioned, let’s hope they learn from this mistake and give us a much shorter and more interesting finale next year. Good luck to the boys that didn’t win, hopefully many of them will get a chance down the track.

  3. Geelong have officially signed Padraig to a 2 year contract. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bradie & Reece get signed to Category B deals before the drafts either.

    Morlo’s best chance of getting picked up will be in the rookie draft in early December

  4. I agree. The finale was waaaaaaaay too drawn out. I bet the representatives of all the teams that didn’t offer him a contract were rapt to waste their sitting through it.

    I really enjoyed the series but the finale was a huge disappointment. I’m not sure the cubs would be too impressed having to put their case forward to recruit a player who probably won’t play a senior game.

    Great concept just needs some fine tuning in my opinion.

  5. Not a great finale, although I think part of that was due to the AFL protecting the process.

    162K is great ratings, especially considering the #2 Foxtel show of the night was AFL360, whose viewers will likely see this on repeat over the next week.

  6. I’ve loved the series but man that was a drawn out finale. It could’ve easily been 60mins instead of 90mins. I find it interesting the club who Johann ended up getting drafted to just happened to have their high performance manager in Darren Burgess involved in the show as part of the executive committee. Just a coincidence I suppose.

    • Yes it lacked any jeopardy and some kind of final challenge. All the trio had to do was turn up and watch the packages. Not very dynamic for a finale. No AFL surprises of any kind. Hopefully they learned from it.

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