A nervous wait was all worth it for George Stevens to become a Geelong Cat.
The South Warrnambool footballer was left to wait until the pointy end of the second night of the 2023 AFL Draft to finally hear his name called out with pick number 58.
"It's honestly unbelievable," an emotional Stevens told The Standard a mere 10 minutes after being drafted.
"It was one of the longest nights I've ever had.
"I was hoping tonight would be a bit quicker than last night but that certainly wasn't the case but it's all worth it."
The 18-year-old, who watched the draft with immediate family at his Warrnambool home on November 21, is no stranger to the AFL club he joins.
The big-bodied midfielder made his VFL debut with the Cats earlier this year.
Though Tuesday night was all about celebrating with family and friends, he said he was keen to hear from the club and get stuck into his new life as an AFL player.
"I'm pretty fortunate the club I'm going to is a pretty successful club and a finals football club," he said.
"To have this opportunity to learn off some greats of the game and then hopefully up-and-coming greats, I've got some pretty good young mates up there, I'm pretty close to Jhye Clark, he was messaging me through the night hoping I would slide."
Stevens was rapt to become an AFL player alongside South Warrnambool teammate Luamon Lual, who was drafted earlier in the night to Essendon, with the pair spending the day together leading into the broadcast.
"We were both so nervous, normally we're pretty well grounded... we wanted to stick together," he said. "We spent the majority of the day playing basketball... just taking our mind off it and ended up having a hit of golf."
Proud parents Natalie and Sam couldn't contain their joy about their son, especially with Geelong just two hours down the highway.
"It's amazing, it's such a special experience, I can't even believe it," Natalie said. "It's a double excitement - one he got drafted and one that he's not moving (far) away.
"And all sides of our family, we've been massive Geelong fans for years."
Sam revealed South Warrnambool senior coach Mat Battistello had predicted George's landing spot.
"He told me it was the year of the Stevens, in the point of view all kids got to win a premiership, and he said he'll (George) go to Geelong and that'd top it off," he said. "He was right."
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