North Warrnambool Eagles' Dion Johnstone thrilled to join Melbourne

PUMPED: Melbourne recruit Dion Johnstone's heart now beats true for the red and the blue.

PUMPED: Melbourne recruit Dion Johnstone's heart now beats true for the red and the blue.

MELBOURNE recruit Dion Johnstone fell to the floor when he heard his name read out on AFL draft night.

The North Warrnambool Eagles forward was watching the telecast with family and friends when the Demons used pick 64 on him.

“I fell to the ground in shock,” he said, just minutes after he was selected.

“Everyone came over and was hugging me. It was unreal.

“I checked my phone and I had 45 messages in about a minute.”

Johnstone was the fifth Hampden league teenager selected on Friday night in a record-breaking draft for the south-west region.

The hard-tackling small forward, who plied his trade at TAC Cup club Oakleigh Chargers and Scotch College, was nominated under the indigenous and multi-cultural category B rookie program.

The initiative gave clubs a chance to draft him outside the salary cap following Monday’s rookie draft.

But the Demons pounced on the exciting teenager who played in North Warrnambool Eagles’ first senior grand final in September.

“Words can’t describe it,” Johnstone said of being drafted.

“The talk was I might go late in the national draft but the (realistic) aim was more on the rookie draft.

“It’s amazing. I caught up with (Melbourne) on Wednesday last week and they seemed keen.”

North Ballarat Rebels talent manager Phil Partington said the draft was a great reflection on the standard of football in the south-west.

The Rebels had five players drafted, while Johnstone and Fremantle recruit Sean Darcy (Cobden) also hail from the region.

“I think it is a good effort and a credit to everyone involved,” he said.

DEE-LIGHTED: Melbourne recruit Dion Johnstone came out of the North Warrnambool Eagles' program. Picture: Rob Gunstone

DEE-LIGHTED: Melbourne recruit Dion Johnstone came out of the North Warrnambool Eagles' program. Picture: Rob Gunstone

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