Main content
Melbourne Football Club

Vandenberg a mint investment

Aaron Vandenberg: First Day at the Club Aaron Vandenberg has arrived at the Melbourne Football Club to begin life as a newly drafted rookie on the clubs list. He spoke to Matt Burgan about the experience so far and you can watch the interview here in full

HE HASN’T quite arrived in mint condition, due to a shoulder injury, but Aaron Vandenberg is a bargain recruit with the potential to return genuine dividends.

The 22-year-old was selected by Melbourne at No.2 in last Wednesday’s NAB AFL Rookie Draft and said it had been “an amazing experience” so far.

“It’s an emotional rollercoaster. I found out from my housemate, when I was having lunch the other day on Wednesday. I didn’t think I was a chance to go No.2 – I was pinning my hopes on No.20,” he told Dee TV.

“He (my housemate) called me up and was wondering why I wasn’t ecstatic and happy, but he gave me the good news.

“I just went through and said goodbye to people at work and finished up on Thursday afternoon and I was down here on Friday and straight into it.”

Vandenberg arrived at Melbourne having to end his apprenticeship with the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra.

“When I first came to Canberra, I worked in a factory just to [earn] a bit of coin, so that I could make my way and pay a bit of rent,” he said.

“I found a good job at the Royal Australian Mint, doing a fitting machine apprenticeship. I’ve been there for the last two and a half years.

“It’s been a great job – the public service look after you pretty well. It’s not everyday people get to work with coins, but unluckily – you can’t take any of them out, because there is pretty strict security like the airport.”

Vandenberg’s move to Melbourne continues a fascinating journey, having previously lived in Western Australia, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

“I was born in Perth and moved to a big mining town called Kalgoorlie, when I was a young kid and then Mum got a pretty good job offer to come over here, when I was about 10 years old,” he said.

“I moved to the south-coast of New South Wales and I played a little bit of SCAFL (South Coast Australian Football League) footy.

“The coach of the rep program was actually associated with the Ainslie footy club, so he got me out there as soon as I finished school and I lived with the coach and the rest is history. But I played with them (Ainslie) for four years.”

Vandenberg said Melbourne national recruiting manager Jason Taylor had kept a close eye on him leading into the draft. 

“I had some previous talks with Jason Taylor and I came down here to have an interview, but it was all pretty nerve-wracking. You have a conversation with them and you pick apart every little bit and don’t sleep over it. You think ‘what did I say wrong and what did I say right?’” he said.

“Thankfully, I got the opportunity and hopefully I can take it with both hands now.”

As for his now famous 56-disposal performance against Eastlake this year, Vandenberg played down his performance.

“It was against Eastlake at Manuka [Oval] and allegedly I had 56 [disposals]. I’ll have to go back and watch the tape, but I’ll claim it, it was a good game,” he said.

“Thankfully, we came away with a win as well, which was handy.”

Vandenberg said he would get his shoulder right and then address his goals for 2015 with the coaching staff.