NORTH Ballarat Rebels graduates Nick O’Brien and Sebastian Ross will make their AFL debuts this round.
O’Brien lines up in a forward pocket for Essendon at the MCG tonight. Ross was last night named on the ball for St Kilda, which meets Greater Western Sydney at Etihad Stadium tomorrow.
Bombers coach James Hird announced early yesterday his intention to select O’Brien.
O’Brien, 19, and Ross, 19, are the first of five North Ballarat Rebels selected in last year’s national draft to debut.
Essendon teammates Lauchlan Dalgleish, Tom Downie (Greater Western Sydney) and Rory Taggert (Melbourne) are waiting in the wings. They are the fourth and fifth former Rebels to play his first AFL game this year though.
Jeremy Cameron, Kurt Aylett and Steve Clifton have also burst onto the scene for GWS after being secured in earlier drafts.
Originally from Carngham-Linton in the Lexton Plains and Central Highlands leagues, O’Brien captained the Rebels last year and was selected in the TAC Cup team of the year. He was also skipper of St Patrick’s College, leading it to a Herald Sun Shield title.
O’Brien becomes the 97th St Pat’s “Old Boy” to play in the VFL/AFL.
He is one of 18 former St Patrick’s College students on existing AFL senior and rookie lists.
Ross is from Horsham, where he played with the Demons in the Wimmera league. He is a nephew of Essendon champion Tim Watson and former Essendon/Fitzroy player Larry Watson, and cousin of Essendon’s Brownlow Medal favourite Jobe Watson. David Astbury will make his first appearances for Richmond for the season against Essendon tonight.
Astbury returned mid-season after recovering from a knee reconstruction.