North Melbourne will unearth midfielder Paul Ahern this Sunday against the Lions, some 1285 days after he was drafted.
The 21-year old was picked up by GWS with the seventh pick in the 2014 draft, and underwent two knee reconstructions that saw him struggle for opportunities. He was then traded to Kangaroos for pick 65, where he has performed strongly in the seconds.
Ahern’s 27-disposal performance on the VFL in a win over Box Hill propelled him into senior selection this week.
“It feels unreal. Obviously, it’s been a long time coming, but to play in indigenous round as well makes it that bit more special,” Ahern told nmfc.com.au.
“My family and friends are all really proud, so it’s going to be really enjoyable.
“There were some dark days in rehab, but I think having to wait all those years to finally play my first game and then to get the call-up while the team is going so well – I’m over the moon and stoked to be a part of it.”
Despite dealing with a host of injuries since being drafted, the youngster has maintained a positive mindset the whole way through.
“I never really doubted myself that I would get there. Obviously, there were some times there when it was really frustrating and a bit depressing,” the Calder Cannons product said.
“But once I got to work, started working hard and training with the main group, that’s when it kind of looked as though it was going to happen.
“It was unreal when I finally got the call-up.”
North Melbourne will host Brisbane at Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon.