New West Coast recruit Drew Petrie says he still has the “fire in the belly” to have an impact at AFL level, after being thrown a lifeline by the Eagles in the rookie draft on Monday.
Petrie, who was delisted by the Kangaroos after 16 seasons and 316 games at Arden Street, has been recruited by West Coast as a back-up forward/ruck option following long term injuries to big men Nic Naitanui and Scott Lycett towards the end of 2016.
By his own admission, the 34-year-old did not have a great season in 2016, but is confident he can bounce back and become an important contributor for the club next season.
“I still think I’ve got enough to give, enough to offer another footy club and I’m really excited that the West Coast Eagles read my name out,” Petrie told West Coast’s website.
“Last year wasn’t my best year, but the previous five years leading into the 2016 season have been really consistent and really solid.
“My body’s been sound, I’ve played every game, trained every session, so I’ve got a hardened, resilient body capable, I feel, to go into my 17th season of footy.”
Petrie had a serious drop in output in 2016, kicking 27 goals in 23 games in the forward line, after booting over 40 goals in each of the previous five seasons.
“The opportunity came once I’d finished at North Melbourne and I thought I had more to give football,” Petrie said.
“There’s still fire in the belly to play and compete and to do it over here, to see a different footy club, to meet a lot of new people, those experiences as well were really appealing.”
Petrie was one of several mature aged players to be given a lifeline during yesterday’s rookie draft.
Former Dockers Tendai Mzungu and Matt de Boer both became Giants, Alex Silvagni was rookied by Carlton, while Shaun McKernan (Essendon), Sam Shaw (Adelaide) and Keegan Brooksby (Gold Coast) were all re-drafted as rookies by their clubs.