JAY Rantall is excited to learn from Collingwood midfielder Scott Pendlebury after the Magpies snapped up the South Warrnambool prospect in Thursday's AFL draft.
Rantall is bound for the biggest club in the land after the Magpies used pick 40 on the inside midfielder with elite endurance.
The Warrnambool College graduate, 18, was at Melbourne's Marvel Stadium for the second night of the AFL draft with his proud parents Tim and Lia and younger brother Wil.
He said he was "over the moon" and found it surreal he could now call himself a Collingwood footballer.
"It was more relief and to experience the moment with my mum, dad and brother was amazing and it's very surreal," Rantall told The Standard.
"Collingwood is such an amazing club with one of the biggest supporter bases in Australia so to think I am a Collingwood player hasn't really sunk in yet but I am truly honoured."
Rantall has an elite basketball background, having represented Australia as a junior, and wants to learn off Pendlebury, who also grew up playing the sport before he switched his focus to football.
"He's such an amazing player. I've watched him a little bit with his background and my background, they're pretty similar, and I really enjoy the way he plays too," he said.
"It is very amazing. I can't wait to pick his brain and everyone's brains. The first few years I'll work as a sponge and learn as much as I can.
"It's pretty surreal to say Nathan Buckley is my coach now so I will try and learn a little bit off him."
Rantall said he'd spoken to Collingwood before the draft but went in with no expectations.
"They were keen but it's the draft and you never know what's going to happen, but I am pretty stoked to land at the Pies," he said.
He said his family was rapt with the result.
"Everyone was over the moon and it was just a massive relief to hear my name called," Rantall said.
"As a family it's such an experience to share it together so I was pretty proud.
"I went straight over to them and gave them all a hug. It was amazing".
The ball-winning onballer said it was a nervous wait with 19 picks before him on night two of the two-day draft.
"It was a bit crazy because of all the live trading that's just come in, clubs are picking for needs," he said.
"When Collingwood was on the clock, it was a huge relief and for my name to be called out was amazing."
Rantall fine-tuned his craft with the Greater Western Victoria Rebels in 2019, impressing talent manager Phil Partington.
"Jay would fit into any AFL club environment but certainly going to a club like the Collingwood Football Club," he told The Standard.
"One of the first things Jay said was that he just wants to work with Scott Pendlebury so he is so rapt and over the moon to be heading to a great club.
"To stay in Melbourne at a really high facility that the Collingwood Football Club has, he will thrive in that environment."
Partington said Rantall was built for an elite sporting environment.
"It was a long wait but it doesn't matter if you go pick one, two or 75, if you get chosen to the AFL it is very, very exciting," he said.
"Any young boy watching the draft is quite nervous and he was a bit fidgety but he is just a well-driven young man and takes everything in his stride and I know he is really excited to start at the Collingwood Football Club.
"I have already had a few Collingwood players text us and can't wait to meet him, which is really pleasing so no doubt Jay will get a few calls from the club.
"It's exciting for the Rebels but also exciting for the South Warrnambool football club and also the Warrnambool College Sport Pathway Program, who have done a lot of work with Jay over the years."
Rantall thanked South Warrnambool, GWV Rebels, Warrnambool Basketball Incorporated, especially Lee Primmer, Warrnambool College and the wider community for its support.
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