From kicking the football together in kindergarten to both being on AFL lists, it’s been a big journey for Calder Cannons duo Harry Jones and Sam Ramsay.
The two Gisborne boys first met in kinder and went through primary school together.
While they went to different secondary schools, they kept playing football together at the Gisborne Rookies, and then at Gisborne and the Calder Cannons.
Last Thursday night, their football dreams came true when they were both selected in the AFL draft.
Jones went first at pick 30 to Essendon, before Ramsay was drafted by Carlton at pick 47.
The two were on the phone to each other on Wednesday night after the draft and couldn’t believe what had happened.
“I was actually doing an interview and I saw his name [on the tv] and I had to actually stop,” said Jones.
“I was just so happy for him and so excited.
“We went to kinder and all the way through primary school together and I still remember kicking the footy in kinder with him and a couple of other mates.
“I never would have thought it would come to this. I’m extremely happy and extremely proud of him.”
Ramsay said it was pretty special to see Jones also get selected.
“Me and Harry have been pretty much best friends since three or four, we went to kinder together, it’s pretty special,” he said.
“I was watching it with my family and they were all excited, I was just as excited for him. I like seeing him do well.
“It’s something that I won’t forget.”
For Jones, a diehard Essendon supporter, being drafted to the Bombers is a dream come true.
He said it was hard to describe how he felt after hearing his name called out.
Jones was at the draft with his manager and family when his name was read out.
“I’m overwhelmed, I don’t think it has set in yet,” Jones said on Friday.
“It’s a bit of a relief feeling. I was obviously ecstatic when I heard my name, [but] it’s a weird feeling.”
Jones didn’t have long for the news to settle in, with him and his family heading to Essendon’s facility in Tullamarine on Friday.
“I got to meet a couple of players, which is pretty cool,” he said.
“It’s a childhood dream. You watch them on tv and all of a sudden they are in front of you in person.
“We start training Monday and I’m looking forward to the challenge and it will be an awesome experience.”
Ramsay was a relieved man when his name was called out by Carlton.
While he had an inkling that he would be selected, it wasn’t until the Blues called his name out at pick 47 that he knew he had achieved his AFL dream.
“It’s pretty unreal, it’s a dream come true,” he said. “I had an inkling, but nothing was set in stone. I knew I was a good chance, but some kids could slip through. I wasn’t 100 per cent sure.”
Ramsay said that he spoke to Carlton just once during the year, about midway through the NAB League season.
Ramsay had a dominant second half of the season after missing out on Vic Metro selection, which saw him share the Calder Cannons’ best and fairest award He said his selection by Carlton shows that hard work pays off in the end.
Ramsay quickly found himself down at Ikon Park on Friday, as he undertook his first training session with the club.
“They are quite young and I think they are heading in the right direction, I’m really excited to just get started,” he said before the first training session.
“Everyone seems welcoming so far. If I can put my head down and work hard, I think I can earn the respect of my teammates and staff, and that’s my number one thing.”
Fellow Cannons Francis Evans and Lachlan Gollant were also selected in the draft, by Geelong and Adelaide respectively