MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 25: Sherrin footballs are placed to be collected by Kangaroos players during a North Melbourne Kangaroos training session at the Arden Street Ground on March 25, 2010 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)

Roos sign highly-rated rugby union prospect

North Melbourne have signed highly-rated rugby union prospect Tom Jefferies as a project player.

Jefferies, 17, was offered a contract with an Australian Super Rugby franchise and a rowing scholarship at Princeton University in the United States, however, decided to choose AFL football.

“Tom will have a great opportunity to develop at VFL level and partake in all AFL training,” Kangaroos General Manager of Football Cameron Joyce said.

“Tom is an outstanding athlete and we are delighted to welcome him to the club.

“We expect to develop him as a ruckman under the tutelage of Alex Ishchenko (ruck coach) and he’ll join in full training upon the players’ return next week.

He will play for Weribee in the VFL in 2017, before officially joining the Kangaroos the following year.

“All my family plays rugby, so this is a new challenge and a new opportunity for me,” Jeffries said.

“As long as I put in the hard work … there are a lot of people down here who can help me with everything, so I’ll feed off them and hopefully things will go from there.”