Former North Melbourne champion and Ballarat boy Drew Petrie is now a West Coast Eagle.
Petrie was taken with West Coast’s second selection in Monday's AFL rookie draft at pick 29. The 34-year-old played 316 games for North Melbourne after being drafted at pick 23 in the 2000 AFL national draft from the North Ballarat Rebels.
The decorated Roo was one of a much publicised quartet of North Melbourne stalwarts this year. Brent Harvey, Michael Firrito and Nick Dal Santo were all culled by the club at the end of the season and Petrie’s passion for the game clearly remains strong.
In a move that surprised many, the 300-gamer will move west to continue his career and bodes as a mentor for the young West Coast forward’s as well as an insurance option from the Eagles big men stocks that took a sizeable hit last year when Nic Naitanui went down with an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
The rookie draft proved a fruitful one for Ballarat-based footballers as North Ballarat Roosters utility Rowan Marshall found his way onto St Kilda’s rookie list after being selected with pick 10.
Marshall originates from Portland and studied in Ballarat.
The agile 200cm prospect was the beneficiary of Roosters stalwart Orren Stephenson’s absence for large chunks of 2016, impressing recruiters with his ability to play in the ruck, drift forward as well as stints at centre-half-back throughout the year.
Roosters coach Marc Greig said Marshall was absolutely stoked.
"He still can't believe it,” Greig said.
"He would've been initially disappointed about not being actually drafted. But it doesn't matter now, you're at an AFL club full-time now. He gets an opportunity in a full-time environment - it's great.”
Greig said he had received plenty of phone calls regarding Marshall. Marshall’s greatest appeal is undoubtedly his versatility and the ability he has shown to play a range of positions and at 21 years of age is improvement now that he’s in an AFL system could be rapid.
Greig believes he will eventually become a ruckman.
"There's been a few phone calls, in regards to wanting to know more about him. With the year he's put together and his size and the way he moves. While he's still got a lot of developing he's certainly on the right track.
“But I think in four or five years he's going to a massive man so I think he will become a ruckman but at the moment I think he's best suited to being a key forward who spends a bit of time ion the ruck.
It has been a tough off-season for the club, with the Roosters receiving some negative publicity surrounding its financial situation.
Greig felt the news underlined the Roosters relevance as a genuine pathway to the elite level.
"We still say that if you don't get drafted from TAC Cup or you're a good country footballer, we're the only regional-based VFL team.”
North Ballarat Rebels dynamic forward also added his name to the list of players fortunate enough to grab ahold of a spot on an AFL rookie list.
Jones was selected by Geelong with pick 48.
Jones, also from Portland, played 18 games for the Rebels this season and kicked 15 goals.
Jones was only named in the best on two occasions, but no doubt his energy across the forward line and ability to impact the game in short bursts appealed to the Cats.
His selection makes him the sixth North Ballarat Rebel to be drafted across both the national and rookie drafts this year, highlighting the Rebels great system.
Jones will join former Sunbury under-18.5 player Zach Guthrie who Geelong picked up with pick 33.