«It was not on my radar or agenda that’s for sure,» he said.
When some people at Prahran told McGregor he was wasting his time, he had the motivation he needed to turn the opportunity into a positive experience.
Two reserves games later with the Lions, McGregor made his senior debut against North Melbourne on July 3, just two days before he turned 21.
He played the last of his 41 games three seasons later, in Fitzroy’s final year in 1996, having earned five Brownlow votes in a very respectable AFL stint.
Now coaching Warrandyte in the Eastern Football League, McGregor said Fitzroy made his mid-season transition as easy as possible with his teammates welcoming the new quartet to the fold.
«It probably happened that quick that I didn’t have time to think about it,» McGregor said.
«I was nervous but I can’t remember it being difficult.»
Knowing old Royboy and now Dockers coach Ross Lyon helped but so did the culture of the Lions.
His experience has made McGregor an unabashed fan of the mid-season draft.
«That opportunity doesn’t come around very often and for players who might get that chance mid-season, it’s fantastic,» McGregor said.
«Without the mid-season draft I would never have played VFL football so I am very grateful for that.
«There are going to be some players in this draft who might play 150 games.»
Without the mid-season draft I would never have played VFL football so I am very grateful for that.
Anthony McGregor, former AFL player for Fitzroy
Who they might be remain to be seen but there could be up to 15 players added to lists in the 2019 mid-season draft held on May 27 with Geelong, West Coast, St Kilda, Fremantle and the Brisbane Lions unlikely to have picks.
Thirteen other clubs are weighing up whether they will add a player via the draft with the following 15 players considered among the main chances to be selected.
Josh DeLuca, 23
The former Docker has shown strong midfield form with Subiaco in the WAFL and was Western Australia’s best player against South Australia last week. Experience at AFL level means he can slot straight into a program.
Kyle Dunkley, 18
The brother of Western Bulldogs midfielder Josh Dunkley showcased his goalkicking prowess with three well-timed goals on debut for Footscray VFL against Hawthorn last Sunday at the MCG.
Angus Hanrahan, 18
Played Vic Metro and went to the draft combine but was overlooked, returning to Sandringham Dragons where he has kicked 10 goals in a solid patch of form in the NAB League. Several clubs like the improvement they have seen in Hanrahan.
Lachlan Hosie, 22
The mid-sized forward has kicked 16 goals in six matches with Glenelg in 2019 to lead the SANFL goalkicking.
Mitch Hibberd, 22
Midfielder who played four games with North Melbourne in 2017 before being delisted. Worked hard on his game at the Kangaroos after being picked at No.33 in the 2015 national draft but found it hard to push past Ben Cunnington and Jack Ziebell.
Cody Hirst, 20
A long-term prospect with real X-factor, he will need longer than six months in a program to show his capability, however smart clubs will attempt to steal a march on the competition by getting him in their system now. At Eastern Ranges he has matured on and off the field.
Ben Kelly, 19
Playing as a key defender with the Murray Bushrangers he has performed well, having had 2018 wrecked through injury. His speed for his size is elite.
Michael Knoll, 26
Ruckman who has shown rapid improvement playing with South Adelaide this season after playing local football in Victoria in 2018. Whether clubs want to take a punt on a 26-year-old ruckman remains to be seen.
Sam Lowson, 23
Speedy Coburg forward who has sprung to recruiters’ attention with his explosive VFL performances this season.
Luke Meadows, 24
Played in an intra-club match at Hawthorn pre-season and has been reasonable with Box Hill as an inside midfielder.
Marlion Pickett, 27
The South Fremantle speedster could make an immediate impact if given a chance to show his wares in the AFL. Ready to return from a finger injury that has kept him sidelined so far in 2019.
Mitch Riordan, 19
He was crook and then suffered a hamstring injury during the national championships that derailed his draft prospects but he has shown his class as a top ager with the Dandenong Stingrays this year.
Adam Tipungwuti, 22
Flying down from the Northern Territory to have a medical. The livewire around goals was scheduled to meet with North Melbourne before the draft. Be exciting for supporters if a club takes a punt.
Lochie Dickson, 24
Ready-made defender who has performed well for Coburg in the VFL winning their 2018 best and fairest.
Cory Gregson, 22
Former Cat who can play AFL but was injury restricted before returning to Glenelg in the SANFL. Has great character and will add value to a list.
Peter Ryan is a sports reporter with The Age covering AFL, horse racing and other sports.