The Riverine Herald - - SPORT - By An­drew John­ston

IT’S BEEN a long wait for Marty Hore.

On the fringes of an AFL op­por­tu­nity seem­ingly for­ever, the 22-yearold (pic­tured) has been dom­i­nat­ing in the VFL, do­ing ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to prove that he could make it in the big league. And then it hap­pened. At pick 56 in the draft, Hore’s name was called — the man who had claimed the past two best and fairest awards for Colling­wood in the VFL was head­ing to the old­est club in Aus­tralia as a new Mel­bourne De­mon.

Two days later, the ex­cite­ment has gone nowhere. ‘‘I’m still pretty happy,’’ he said. ‘‘I think it is start­ing to sink in that I’m go­ing to be an AFL player, and it’s fan­tas­tic that I get to be a part of the Mel­bourne Foot­ball Club.

‘‘They’re a re­ally ex­cit­ing group, they’re still very young and have some in­cred­i­ble play­ers, it’s a pretty ex­cit­ing time to be­come a part of the club.’’

But when that pick was read out, Hore wasn’t sit­ting on his phone or in front of the TV watch­ing the broad­cast.

He was out of range of the TV and so­cial me­dia, way out in a farflung pad­dock driv­ing an ex­ca­va­tor on his fam­ily’s Leitchville farm.

‘‘I’ve been home and work­ing on the farm since footy sea­son ended,’’ he said.

‘‘I got on with my day as nor­mal, con­tin­ued to do my work and waited while the draft was on. Then dad called and said I was picked up by Mel­bourne so I ran in pretty quickly.’’

Hore didn’t have much to worry about.

A mem­ber of the 2018 VFL team of the year, Hore looked like one of the best de­fend­ers in the draft pool.

‘‘I thought that I had been pro­duc­ing some re­ally good and con­sis­tent footy the past two sea­sons in the VFL, I’ve been able to have an im­pact on the game in my role as a de­fender.

‘‘I’ve been re­ally happy and knew I had given my­self the best chance that I could to get into the AFL sys­tem.’’

Though, he ad­mits, he wasn’t sure Mel­bourne would be the club tak­ing him.

‘‘I talked with Mel­bourne in the mid­dle of the year,’’ he said.

‘‘I had con­ver­sa­tions with eight clubs through­out the sea­son, in­clud­ing a few in the lead up to the draft.

‘‘But we (Mel­bourne and Hore) hadn’t spo­ken in a while so I wasn’t re­ally sure if I was on their radar. It was a pleas­ant sur­prise to have them call my name out.’’

He will join Echuca’s first Al­lAus­tralian Clay­ton Oliver, as well as for­mer res­i­dent and De­mon’s co­cap­tain Jack Viney in the red and blue. And he’s ready to go now. ‘‘I have a meet and greet tonight (Sun­day night) with the club, and will prob­a­bly get my in­struc­tions from there.

‘‘I had a mi­nor an­kle surgery in the wash up for the sea­son, so I think it will be a case of them check­ing it out and then let­ting me train.

‘‘The first to fourth year play­ers are cur­rently on the track, with the rest of the group re­turn­ing in a week, so hope­fully I can get straight into it.’’

While Hore was al­lowed to speak to me­dia, fel­low lo­cal draftee Lach­lan Schultz, who was taken at the next pick (57), was placed un­der a me­dia gag by his club, which he hoped would be lifted in com­ing days.

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