K rock Football

Roos take chance on Ham

Charlie Ham has joined North Melbourne via the AFL’s Mid-season Draft. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

LESS than five weeks after running out in an AFL Barwon under-19 grading game, Charlie Ham finds himself on an AFL list after North Melbourne selected him in the Mid-Season Draft on Wednesday night.

The Geelong Falcon, who was also a member of Geelong’s VFL list, joined the Roos with their second pick (No.16).

“I knew there was a chance with North, but I wasn’t 100 per cent sure whether I was going to be going there,” Ham said.

“I’m so happy to hear my name readout. I can’t wait to get started.”

Ham, who played juniors at both St Mary’s and Torquay, was most recently in a Saints jumper on May 1.

That came a week after pulling on a Cats jumper in the exhibition match against the AFL Academy.

The 180cm half-back says being selected in the mid-season draft will give him a six-month headstart on his AFL career.

“I’ve just got to make the most of it now,” he said.

“All the waiting’s over … I’m keen to get straight into it.”

Ham, who was overlooked in last year’s National Draft, becomes the second family member on an AFL list, with brother Brayden in his third season at Essendon.

And his older sibling had some matter-of-fact advice for the 18-year-old.

“Once you make the AFL, you’ve got to make some sacrifices,” Ham said.

“If there’s a party or whatnot, you can’t go – you’ve just got to focus on football.

“Everything becomes a bit more serious when you get to the AFL.”

Ham will also link up with close mate and fellow former Falcon Charlie Lazzaro at Arden Street.

“Before I had my interview with North, I gave him a text asking him how everything’s going and asking about the club,” he said.

“He gave me a bit of advice going into the interview, and hopefully, he put in a good word.”

North Melbourne recruiting boss Glenn Luff says Ham was deserving of his AFL opportunity.

“We are really pleased to bring in a player of Charlie’s quality,” Luff said.

“We believe his assets: running capacity and ability to hit targets – long and short by foot – suit where the game is going and fills a need in our team.

“After the disappointment of missing out in the 2020 National Draft, Charlie has demonstrated a determination and work ethic to get himself into a position where he could be considered in this draft.

“He will add a different dimension to our back half and we look forward to his development under the guidance of defensive coach John Blakey, and experienced campaigners in Robbie Tarrant, Aidan Corr and Luke McDonald.”

Twitter: @tom_king79