ROWAN Marshall and Jamaine Jones epitomise the long and the short of it but are hoping to represent Portland with pride in equal measure on the AFL stage.
St Kilda swooped on ruckman-forward Marshall with pick 10 and Geelong pounced on small forward Jamaine Jones at pick 48 in Monday’s rookie draft.
The pair made it a record seven Hampden league exports picked in one year, following the selection of five south-west players in Friday’s national draft.
Marshall, who turned 21 on Thursday, arrives at the Saints following a two-year apprenticeship at VFL club North Ballarat Roosters.
His journey to the elite level included stints at Heathmere, Portland, North Ballarat Rebels, Sebastopol and the Roosters.
“I was shocked,” Marshall said of making the AFL.
“I was sitting there and saw my name pop up (on the computer screen).
“I’m just over the moon, couldn’t be happier.”
Marshall said he was hopeful rather than confident heading into the rookie draft.
“I have had a fair few interviews with them but I wasn’t really expecting anything,” he said of the Saints’ interest.
“I hadn’t spoken to many clubs since the draft through to the rookie draft, so I wasn’t expecting too much, but seeing my name read out, it’s amazing.
“All the hard work that I have put in after I missed out (getting drafted) is a just a good reward and I’m certainly not going to let myself down now.
“I am going to make the most of my chance.”
A standout interleague performance proved invaluable for Jones.
Geelong recruiting manager Stephen Wells said the Heywood-based player shone for Hampden league against a quality opponent.
“I’d actually gone down there to watch that game to watch Cedric Cox...Jamaine was a late inclusion for that game and was best player for Hampden league on the day,” he told KRock radio.
“His tackling and forward craft was terrific and that carried on into games at North Ballarat Rebels.”
Jones, 18, said he was rapt to join the Cats and was hopeful of snaring a spot in their best 22 as a goalsneak who could crumb under Tom Hawkins’ feet.
“I can’t even describe how I am feeling right now,” he said.
“I was watching it on the computer and sort of walked out and Mum goes ‘oh, you got picked’ and I said ‘you’re joking?’. It’s awesome.”
Jones will start pre-season on Tuesday.
“I will just train and hopefully see if I can crack a game and if not, then just keep working towards it,” he said.
“But just learning is the biggest one I guess, just keep learning as a person and a player.”