Northern Knights Justin McInerney wasn’t really paying attention when his name was read out in the AFL draft on Friday.

Expecting to go later in the draft, McInerney was as shocked as anyone as Sydney took him at pick 44.

Speaking an hour after his name was called out, McInerney said it was still pretty surreal.

“I thought I would go later in the draft,” he said. “More like pick 60 than pick 44.

“I had spoken to Sydney, They were the first club I spoke to and they spoke to me again on Tuesday.

“Dad jumped out of his seat and mum was sitting there in disbelief. My brother Chris was getting around me.

“A few boys came around afterwards.”

McInerney said he didn’t mind heading to Sydney to start his AFL career, he’s just thrilled to have the opportunity.

McInerney is a late bloomer only coming into the Knights program as a top age player.

Knights coach Justin Wenke said before the draft that they weren’t sure last season if he had the physical strength to play TAC Cup level football.

But when the Banyule junior got the opportunity, he made the most of it. His kicking, running and dash were what stood out.

McInerney said he didn’t imagine being on an AFL list 12 months ago.

“At the start of the year, I wanted to get that continuity with my football and play a few TAC Cup games and play school football.

“I didn’t think this was going to happen. As the year went on, I thought I might be a chance.

McInerney said he would head up to Sydney on Sunday and get straight into preseason training.

He has already spoken to Swans coach John Longmire.

“I spoke to the welfare manger and the coach and got a couple of texts from the other coaches.

“John said he was rapt to have me on board and thought I was a good fit and was asking about my family.”

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