Western Jets ruck-forward Tristan Xerri endured a long wait to hear his name called out on draft night, but the result could not have been any better.
Xerri got called out with pick 72 by North Melbourne – the team he grew up supporting.
“I’ve followed North all my life, along with dad,” he told Star Weekly.
“Just waking up this morning and getting messages last night from Todd [Goldstein], Ben [Brown], Jack Ziebell and Shaun Higgins – it’s surreal, I can’t believe it.
“I’m heading down to Arden Street on Monday and I can’t wait to meet all the boys and get stuck into some training.”
Xerri bolted into draft contention after an impressive top-age season for the Jets in the TAC Cup.
He will be a two-dimensional player for North Melbourne. He can play as a strong marking forward and an athletic ruckman, as demonstrated by his performances for Vic Metro at the under-18 national championships.
Xerri was guaranteed a spot on the Werribee Tigers’ list for 2018 if he was not drafted, but it was Werribee that bolstered his prospects when he played three games as a 23rd man for the VFL club this season.
“They’ve been great looking after me and giving me the opportunity last year,” he said.
“It gave me confidence being able to perform at VFL level and showed the recruiters what I can do.
“It’s maybe what got me over the line, so that was great.”
Xerri’s already been fast-tracked by the coaching of Torin Baker at the Jets and Scott Korzcynski at Caroline Springs College. He played under Korzcynski for Caroline Springs Lakers in the club’s 2016 WRFL division 2 premiership.
“Scott’s been huge for me,” Xerri said.
“In year 10, there wasn’t much of me – just a relatively tall kid who couldn’t kick a footy, but had some height.
“He stuck with me, taught me the fundamentals and I had a good year in year 10.
“He had a connection with the Western Jets, so he spoke to me, spoke to the Jets as well, so he was probably the reason why I ended up getting my first game.”
Xerri is the first Caroline Springs player to make it to the AFL.