BEN Kellett grew up within walking distance of Bushfield Recreation Reserve dreaming of playing senior football for North Warrnambool Eagles.
Five goals in his senior debut was an added bonus.
"I was very surprised but it made me very happy and it got my confidence up," he said.
The promising ruck-forward knows it will be difficult to replicate that effort against six-time Hampden league premier Koroit this weekend.
But Kellett, 17, is eager for the challenge as he embraces a chance to don the blue and gold.
"I played Auskick down here at North and haven't moved from here ever," he said.
"I live down the road so I am always up here. My whole life I have wanted to play senior footy for North Warrnambool. It's been really good to get a game."
Kellett then hopes NAB League club Greater Western Victoria Rebels selects him the following week when the under 19 statewide boys' competition resumes after a break.
He made the representative squad last year but was denied a chance to compete when the coronavirus pandemic swept across Victoria.
The 196-centimetre prospect played in three of the Rebels' first four matches this season with a personal-best three goals against Murray Bushrangers.
"It's a lot harder and faster and there's fitter blokes. It's a lot harder to keep up," Kellett said.
Kellett, who is in year 12 at Emmanuel College, would be eligible for the Rebels again in 2021 if it remains an under 19 competition.
"I want to be the best player I can and see where it takes me," he said.
To get there Kellett is learning from experienced players, such as Eagles teammates Adam Wines and Dylan Parish.
"Dylan hasn't played much footy this year but behind the scenes at training he gives me a few tips," he said.
"He helps with where to lead and the little smart things to get an edge on your opponent."
Areas for improvement are running patterns in attack and building his aerobic capacity and positioning in the ruck.
"I am starting to get better at marking the ball," he said.
"I was never too good at marking overhead but I am starting to develop that."
Kellett is among a strong junior contingent, including Rebels-listed duo Jett Bermingham and Ned Timms, at North Warrnambool Eagles.
There is one player in particular he believes Eagles supporters should keep an eye on.
"Harry Keast hasn't been playing under 18s this year, he's been playing seniors," Kellett said.
"He's in year 10 at Emmanuel and he went straight from under 16s to seniors.
"He is a very good player and he's developing strongly."
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