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Lever a role model for fellow recruit

Matt Burgan  December 21, 2017 3:13 PM

Harrison Petty's Arrival We chat to Harrison Petty about his road to the AFL
I’ve watched Jake a fair bit and tried to model my game on him – the same sort of play and intercept marking

DRAFTEE Harry Petty says he has modelled his game on recruit Jake Lever and is eager to learn off the outstanding defender.

Petty, who was Melbourne’s third selection in the 2017 NAB AFL Draft, said he kept a close eye on Lever during his junior days.

“I’ve watched Jake a fair bit and tried to model my game on him – the same sort of play and intercept marking,” he told melbournefc.com.au.

“I’ve also watched the young boys [at Melbourne] like the second and third year players, such as Declan Keilty – they’ve been a real help to me so far. The key defenders have already shown me how to use my body in contests, which is good.

“Dion Johnstone has also been a big help so far and has been a taxi for me.”

Hailing 570 north-west of Adelaide, Petty, who barracked for Carlton growing up (his favourite player was the great Chris Judd), started played football from a very young age.

His journey eventually took him to South Australia in the NAB AFL under 18 championships, Norwood and Rostrevor College, where he played most of his football in recent times.

“I’m from Wudinna in the Eyre Peninsula. I started playing footy around three or four [years old] in the under 12s mini colts – you’d run out there at half-time and have a kick and a catch,” he said.

“I played under 16s, from about eight or nine [years old], which was with bigger bodies. I’ve also played senior footy since I was 14, so I was playing with bigger bodies when I was younger.

“Then I moved away to Rostrevor College and played footy there and at Norwood.”

Petty played two reserves games at Norwood, because school football was compulsory, while he was named South Australia’s most valuable player in this year’s under 18 championships.  

“I thought I was pretty lucky to get that (the MVP). There were a couple of boys that played four really consistent games. I thought I played three really good ones and I was pretty lucky with that,” he said.

“It helped me a lot [to get drafted].”

Rated by many as a top 30 draft pick, Petty slipped through to Melbourne at No.37. But the South Australian thought he was most likely to end up at the Cats or Giants – not the Demons.

“Geelong lost two key defenders and then GWS a tall defender as well, so I thought maybe one of those two, but I didn’t think Melbourne,” he said.

“But I’m happy to be here.”

Now, Petty is determined to make the most of his opportunities, and isn’t setting any limitations on 2018.

“I just want to train hard and learn as much as I can,” he said.

“I just want to play good VFL footy and see what happens from there.

“I don’t know if I’ll get to the AFL next year, but if I can play good consistent footy for the VFL side – that’d be good.”