American rookie Eric Wallace remains on North Ballarat Roosters list

AMERICAN AFL rookie Eric Wallace remains on North Ballarat Roosters’ list.

The Roosters and AFL partner North Melbourne will continue to review Wallace’s progress as a ruck prospect through the summer.

Roosters coach Gerard FitzGerald said Wallace would need to impress to make senior selection in the Victorian Football League.

Wallace, in his first season with the Kangaroos, played 14 games in the AFL Victoria Development League, including one on loan to the Kangaroos’ other VFL partner Werribee, and was very much a project player.

The former American college basketballer’s alignment came under scrutiny with the Roosters’ decision to scrap its development team next season, a team Werribee will continue to field.

FitzGerald said Wallace’s fitness and power was impressive but it all came down to how well he learned the game.

“He’s making progress and at this stage is still on our list. The preferred outcome is that he improves enough this pre-season to be considered for senior selection here,” FitzGerald said.

“He’s been doing a lot of one-on-one work with (Kangaroos ruckman) Todd Goldstein and will play as a genuine ruckman now.

“His fitness has improved and now he needs to improve his understanding and be involved more in the game, particularly with second efforts.”

Wallace, who stands 197-centimetres tall, came close to senior selection at the end of last season when he was named on an extended interchange multiple times.

The Roosters will first aim to have Wallace up for practice matches before final decisions.

Wallace’s inclusion will offer a welcome relief to the Roosters’ ruck stock.

Delisted Kangaroo Ben Mabon, a former Rebel, has transferred to SANFL-club Central Districts.

Mabon has been starting ruck the past two seasons after the drafting of triple premiership ruckman Orren Stephenson.

FitzGerald said it leaves the Roosters with “big questions” but they have three ruck options training with the squad to consider – Rebels graduate Kyle Hendy, Sam Conroy, who stepped up to the ruck and forward when needed, and Carisbrook big man Jackson Bowen, a former Bendigo Pioneers TAC Cup under-18 player.

The Roosters will lose former Kangaroos’ key defender Luke Delaney (St Kilda) and delisted midfielder Cam Richardson (Bacchus Marsh).

A key inclusion will be former Richmond small forward Robin Nahas, who the Kangaroos secured to complement Lindsay Thomas on their list.

Nahas, when playing for the Roosters, will help fill the void of retired goal-sneak Bill Driscoll who has bowed out of the game with a recurring foot injury.

Midfield draftee Trent Dumont – a SANFL premiership player with Norwood last season – and mature-age rookie Joel Tippett, a key defender with experience on the Brisbane Lions (2007-09) and Gold Coast (2011) lists, are also newly aligned to the Roosters.

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