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Melbourne Football Club

Harmes over the moon about debut

Harmes to debut James Harmes speaks to Matt Burgan after being told he will debut against Essendon
James Harmes in action during the Melbourne Demons training session at Gosch's Paddock, Melbourne on June 17, 2015. (Photo: Matthew Goodrope/AFL Media)
James Harmes in action during the Melbourne Demons training session at Gosch's Paddock, Melbourne on June 17, 2015. (Photo: Matthew Goodrope/AFL Media)

ROOKIE James Harmes says he’s over the moon about making his AFL debut against Essendon at the MCG on Saturday.

The midfielder was told by coach Paul Roos late on Thursday afternoon that he would play his first game for Melbourne this round.

“I was just about to jump in the ice baths and Mahns (Josh Mahoney) gave me a call and said ‘can you come up to the office’,” he told Dee TV.

“So I walked up there and I wasn’t really sure what was going to happen.

“I found out the good news and they (the match committee) played a prank on me. They said I can’t play this weekend [in the VFL … because I was playing in the AFL]. They broke the news to me and I was pretty happy.”

Harmes said “it was pretty crazy” to hear the news, given he was a Melbourne supporter growing up.

“As a kid I grew up for Melbourne and now to pull on the jumper this weekend, it’ll be unbelievable,” he said.

“When I found out I was going to be elevated today (Thursday), things turned a little bit for me and I thought I could sneak in this weekend. 

“I got the call-up, so I’m pretty excited just to get out there on Saturday.”

Selected at No.2 in the NAB AFL Rookie Draft in November 2013, Harmes said his journey had been “very challenging” so far.

“I’ve had to get over a few little speed humps along the way, but it’s the best life and it’s really enjoyable,” he said.

“I love coming [to the club] every day to be with my mates and playing footy, so it’s been tough, but I’ve loved every minute of it.”

Hailing from Devon Meadows/Dandenong Stingrays, Harmes said he relished the opportunity even more, having joined the club as a rookie.

“It’s a lot harder to get an actual game, so over the last couple of months I’ve been working on a lot of things,” he said.

“I’ve been doing as much extra as I can, by going and seeing the coaches and doing the ice baths and extra touch.

“I’ve been proactive and as the coaches always say ‘I’ve been taking ownership of my career’, so that’s what I’ve really tried to work on. Last year, I wasn’t as professional as I should’ve been and I was still only an 18-year-old kid coming out of the TAC Cup.

“This year, I feel like my professionalism has gone to another level.”

Harmes said Bernie Vince and Nathan Jones had taken him under his wing.

“From day one, Jonesy was getting around me, so probably those two boys [have had the biggest influence on me],” he said.

“All of the boys are great people – and great people to be around.

“Everyone has had a great influence on me.”

The fact that Harmes has had red and blue running through his veins for his entire life is the cherry on top for the 19-year-old.

“Unfortunately, my mum and my sister are over in Europe at the moment … so that’s bad luck, you’re not going to see me debut,” he said.

“I’m sure that they’ll watch it somewhere.

“It’s going to be unbelievable. I always wanted to do it (play for Melbourne), but for it to finally happen, it’s just crazy – words can’t describe what I’m feeling right now. I’m just grateful for the opportunity that everyone’s given me and I just can’t wait to get out there on Saturday.”