NORTH Ballarat is to play a key role in North Melbourne’s international experiment.
The Kangaroos’ new international rookie Eric Wallace will launch his Australian football career in Selkirk Roosters colours this year.
A former United States college basketballer, Wallace has been aligned with the Roosters for 2013 AFL/VFL season.
He will begin his new venture in the AFL Development League.
Roosters head coach Gerard FitzGerald is excited by the challenge on helping convert the 23-year-old into an elite AFL player.
FitzGerald said he was keen to get involved with Wallace’s development as soon as North Melbourne made the choice to sign him.
“I put my hand up ... yes you could say that,” the three-time North Ballarat premiership coach said.
“Wouldn’t it be exciting if he put himself in contention for senior (VFL) selection before the end of the season.”
FitzGerald said North Melbourne planned to take a patient approach with Wallace.
He said it was important the US import would be given plenty of time to find his feet.
FitzGerald said he had not yet met Wallace, but would at North Melbourne’s community camp in Ballarat on Monday February 11, and Tuesday, February 12.
Wallace played college basketballer in North Carolina.
Standing at 196 centimetres, he was one of 10 overseas athletes to attend the AFL draft combine in Melbourne in October after being taking part in testing in the
Wallace then trained with North Melbourne, which was impressed enough after a 10-day trial to sign him.
Wallace is one of four new North Melbourne faces on North Ballarat’s list, joining Kangaroos recruits Ben Jacobs (Port Adelaide, AFL), Taylor Garner (Dandenong Stingrays, TAC Cup) and Mitch Wilkins (Norwood, SANFL).
They fill vacancies by Aaron Edwards (Richmond), delisted Gavin Urquhart and Matt Campbell, and Cruize Garlett, who left North Melbourne.
North Ballarat resumed full pre-season training last night.