ERIC Wallace is daring to dream. The American college basketballer is now an international rookie on the North Melbourne list and is confident of one day making his debut in the AFL.
Tonight he takes another step towards that goal in the Kangaroos’ intra-club clash at Eureka Stadium.
It will be Wallace’s first full-scale match of Aussie Rules football — and he can’t wait.
“It will be my first time suiting-up and going 18 versus 18 officially,” Wallace told The Courier while at Sebastopol Football Club training last night.
“I’m really excited to see how I go, get a full four quarters under my belt.”
Standing at close to 200cm, Wallace was one of 10 overseas athletes to attend the AFL draft combine in Melbourne last year after testing in the US.
He then trained with North Melbourne, which was impressed enough after a 10-day trial to sign him.
The 24-year-old has eyes on one day lining-up for the Kangaroos.
“I’m too far away from home not to be confident,” he said.
“I’m very confident I’ll be around for more than two years.”
Wallace felt he was picking up the game well by being around the club on a regular basis.
“I think I’m impressing the coaches a lot more that they thought I would. My application to learning the game, my willingness to be around for the long run is really pushing me forward,” Wallace said.
“The first time I watched (AFL) was maybe a year and a half ago. I was flicking through channels and it was on TV. I had no idea what I was watching, what I was looking at. The field was oval and round and there was a lot more players on the field than I was used to.
“Now I’ve watched so many games and kept the TV on the AFL channel. I’ve got North Melbourne games on my laptop, which I watch at home. Once I decided to go the AFL route back in August, I was watching as much AFL as I could.”
Tonight’s match concludes the Kangaroos’ two-day community camp, the fifth time they have visited the city for the pre-season getaway.
As part of the trip, North Melbourne players attended football clubs around the region last night. As well as Sebastopol, Kangaroos were also sent to Redan, East Point, Lake Wendouree, Ballarat, Springbank, Rokewood-Corindhap, Buninyong, Creswick and Carngham-Linton.
They will spend this morning with a range of community groups before the intra-club match, which kicks off at 5.30pm at Eureka Stadium.