Two years removed from his draft day, Jack Petruccelle still vividly recalls the mixture of nerves and excitement as he waited to discover his football fate.
Rated as one of the 2017 draft’s raw talents, the Victorian speedster had no idea his name would be called by West Coast and that his life would change in an instant.
Petruccelle, who spent his draft day playing golf with a cousin to occupy his mind, was snared by the Eagles with pick No.38 as part of a significant national draft crop.
Just days later he joined Jarrod Brander (pick No.13), Oscar Allen (21), Liam Ryan (26), Brayden Ainsworth (32) and Hamish Brayshaw (68) starting life as a West Coast player.
“When you hear your name read out it’s very exciting and you never look back,” Petruccelle said.
“It was very exciting. Obviously a bit daunting, knowing I was moving across the country, but more excited.
“It was such an amazing feeling.
“It’s a nervous day. It’s a very nervous wait, so I think (this year’s draft hopefuls will) all be nervous but at the same time they’ll be very excited.
“It’s a good day.”
This year’s national and rookie drafts will be held across next three days, with a handful of new players set to be welcomed by the blue and gold.
They will almost immediately join the full squad in pre-season training, with the senior group back to work on Monday – two weeks after the first-to-fourth-year players kicked off the summer program.
“There’s a few boys that have been showing a lot so far. Jarrod Brander is one, he’s come back and he’s winning all the runs. He’s real fit and he’s stronger in the gym as well,” Petruccelle said.
“As well as Tim Kelly, it’s exciting to see him there. He’s been good to train with.
“A lot of the second year boys have come back in good shape and are training well.”
Petruccelle knows the importance of a strong pre-season.
He was a standout on the track last summer, and his hard work provided a launching pad to play 20 games last campaign.
The zippy 20-year-old forward booted 21 goals – including a bag of five to earn the Rising Star nomination in round five - and averaged 1.9 tackles.
“I was quite happy with my pre-season last year, so hopefully I can get into the same groove I did last year,” Petruccelle said.
“(I’ll) just hopefully get through pre-season uninjured, and another big pre-season under my belt would be nice. I’ll start setting goals as we get closer to games.
“I’m always looking to get quicker. There’s no baseline (with my speed), so hopefully I’ve added to that with the work I’ve done in the off-season.”