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Vardy recalls the day he was drafted

Draft memories: Nathan Vardy Forward ruckman Nathan Vardy discusses his memories of being drafted.
Nathan Vardy, Geelong Cats after a goal during the 2013 AFL 2nd Qualifying Final match between the Geelong Cats and the Fremantle Dockers at Simonds Stadium, Geelong on September 07, 2013. (Photo: Andrew White/AFL Media)
Nathan Vardy had no idea that he was going to Geelong until he heard his name called at pick 42.

A meeting with Port Adelaide, only days before the draft, had Nathan Vardy convinced he was heading over to South Australia to begin his AFL career. 

According to the 2009 phantom drafts and Port Adelaide, who planned to select Vardy at pick 16, the young ruckman was a highly sort after player and was likely to poll high in the draft.

However, none of the signs pointed to Geelong picking him up at pick 42.

“Draft day came and I reckon I woke up at 6 o’clock like a little kid at Christmas and I had to wait all day because it was the first year the draft was at night,” Vardy told Cats TV.

“So, I was just hanging out with my mates all day and we went to the local pub and watched it on telly with my family and friends.”

“I was sort of expecting to go to Port Adelaide at 16 and I slipped through that,” Vardy said. 

Expecting an early pick, the 199cm ruckman from Gippsland started to doubt his chances and the possibility of being chosen by Geelong was far from his radar. 

“I was trying to work out who needs a ruckman and who needs a tall,” Vardy recalled.  

“I had no idea that Geelong was keen, I only talked to them the once at draft camp and it was pretty brief and it seemed pretty casual.

“But Wellsy (Stephen Wells) said to me there, ‘you’re a good player, you’re a happy kid, why shouldn’t we draft you?’ I said ‘do it’.”  

“So pick 42 came along and the Cats took me.”

Born and bred in Victoria, Vardy was thrilled to be staying put on top of being given the rare opportunity to begin his career amongst a pool of premiership stars.

“When I was slipping I was getting pretty worried and wondering whether people actually wanted me and then when I got called out I was pumped to still be in Victoria,” Vardy said.

“And I never thought about Geelong because I never thought it would be a realistic chance… and once it hit me I was buzzing. 

“I thought it’s going to be hard to get in as it’s such a good side, but I looked at it as an opportunity to learn from the best.”

Since making his debut in 2011, Vardy, who has undergone an unfair bout of injuries during his short time at the club, has proven to be a valuable Cat with an impressive thirst for the ball.

Playing as both a ruckman and forward, Vardy has competed in a total of 21 senior games and is eager to return next season after missing all of 2014 with a torn ACL.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs