MULGRAVE footballer Tim Knowles has come out of left field, literally, as an AFL prospect.
The 19-year-old midfielder walked into the Lions off the street just a week before the Eastern Football League division 2 season began.
Knowles had spent the summer playing baseball, where he had long been a promising prospect as a third baseman and outfielder.
The Narre Warren South resident was considered good enough to play college baseball in the US, with several junior colleges interested in his services.
But Knowles said he wanted to turn his hand to football so he followed a few mates over to the Lions.
Click on the image below for our gallery of the Mulgrave v Waverley Blues match.
He planned on playing for the Lions' under-19s but that plan barely made it through his first few trainings.
"I thought I would play under-19s in the morning and then baseball in the afternoons," he said.
"But things moved very quickly and once I started playing I fell in love with football more and went with football," he said.
"I haven't looked back."
Knowles' form has been so strong a few AFL scouts have reportedly made their way to Lions matches to watch him play.
Lions coach Ryan James said Knowles showed from his first sessions that he was good enough for senior football.
"He came for a kick in the under-19s, I took a look at him and said 'you're playing seniors, bud'," James said. "I can't speak highly enough of him. A few AFL clubs have come down and looked at him and some player managers have contacted him.
"We will do anything we can to get him noticed."
Knowles said he hadn't played much football in the past few years due to baseball and school commitments outside of playing for Caulfield Grammar, Wheelers Hill in school football last year.
"To be honest I wasn't sure what to expect," he said.
"I just wanted to do my bit and get a kick."
Knowles has ended up doing more than that with 13 appearances in the Lions' best players from 14 matches.
He said he was aware of some AFL attention but since it was only slight he was determined to focus on helping the Lions avoid relegation from division 2 over the final four rounds.
"I've heard there has been some interest but I haven't spoken to any clubs, although I would jump at it," Knowles said. "Playing football was always a childhood dream but baseball always seemed to get in first with state teams and things like that so footy just sort of tagged along."
Despite the early struggles in the season, Knowles and the Lions have won two matches in the past month and moved off the bottom of the ladder. Knowles said he had loved playing football no matter which level it was.
"A few people told me the Lions wouldn't be great this year," he said. "But it didn't stop me from going down. There is no feeling like a good win after a hard fight - It's unreal."
If opportunities at AFL or VFL come around in the off-season, Knowles said he would jump at them. If not, James said the Lions had already signed him up for next season but added an out clause for higher level moves.
"I'd love to have a crack," Knowles said. "I will do anything I can to get there."
The Lions made it three wins from three with a 33-point win over Waverley Blues on Saturday.
The win could have lifted the Lions a game clear of bottom-placed Doncaster but following Doncaster's upset win over Upper Ferntree Gully, the Lions are just three percentage points above the Doncats.