WESTERN Australia has brought the Demons luck in 2021, with the club winning a drought-breaking premiership at Optus Stadium in September.
Just two months later, Melbourne is already looking to the future, recruiting Claremont talent Jacob van Rooyen with pick No.19 in the National Draft.
And for van Rooyen, who is joining the team on top of the league, it poses as the perfect opportunity to grow.
“I’m definitely looking forward to meeting guys like Tom McDonald in terms of the forwards, and the backmen like Jake Lever and Steven May,” van Rooyen told Melbourne Media moments after being drafted.
While Wednesday night’s selection means the 18-year-old will have to live away from home, this challenge is one he has been prepared to face.
“I’ve always been ready to move over,” he said.
“It’s a really great opportunity that I’m really excited for.”
When van Rooyen touches down in Victoria and gets started on the track with the Dees, he could settle into one of two positions: forward or defence.
Get excited, Dees fans.— Melbourne Demons (@melbournefc) November 24, 2021
This is a glimpse into the talent of our pick No.19. 🤯 pic.twitter.com/nD5BMhmG23
At 194cm, the swingman has proven his worth at both ends of the field, but it was his form at the backend of the WAFL Colts’ season that caught the eye of many.
Booting 24 goals in the last six games, van Rooyen showed he has the capability to develop into a weapon inside 50, although he is “just happy to play anywhere” he is required.
And after playing more footy than most other juniors across the past two seasons, he is eager to test himself at the top level.
“I think [COVID-19] has probably given us WA boys a bit of an advantage over the boys in the east, so it’s been really good,” van Rooyen said.
“I’m really excited and waiting for it to sink in – it feels almost not real.”