JJ Liston Trophy winner Nick Rippon sees a move to the VFL’s newest team North Melbourne as giving him one more shot at fulfilling his AFL ambition.
The decorated North Ballarat Rooster believes being part of an AFL club environment will provide greater exposure to potential suitors.
“It gives me one last go at it,” the 2015 VFL best and fairest said.
Rippon, 23, and Roosters teammate Mitch Rodd, 25, have secured contracts with the Kangaroos.
They add to an already strong Ballarat flavour at North Melbourne, with former GWV Rebels coach David Loader head coach and Rob Waters, who coached Carngham-Linton and North Ballarat City to premierships as well having various roles with the Roosters and Roosters, also on the coaching panel.
The Kangaroos initially approached each after the Roosters lost their VFL licence.
Rippon, who under the guidance of Loader with the Rebels, said it was exciting to part of new team.
“Everyone’s working hard to make it work.”
He said being one of the most experienced VFL players in the North Melbourne list, he was also looking forward to a leadership role and mentoring younger VFL and AFL-listed players in the team.
“It’s a great opportunity.”
Rippon has played almost 80 VFL games and represented the Big V since graduating from the Rebels in 2013 after taking the best and fairest, and representing Vic Country in the national under-18 championships.
Rippon said he would continue to live in Ballarat at least until he completed his plumbing apprenticeship in the new year.
He plans to retain Lake Wendouree as his home club, but this might change if he does move to Melbourne
Rodd said it had been great to get a firm offer from North Melbourne and avoid having to go through a try-out process to get a spot on a VFL list.
He said it had been disappointing to see the Roosters fall away as they had, but grateful to have an another opportunity in the VFL.
Rodd, who joined the Roosters in 2014, said it was exciting to be training in an AFL environment with outstanding facilities.
Originally from Ballarat Swans, Rodd will keep South Barwon as his home club.