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VFL: Ahern’s double delight

Mitchell Jones  April 16, 2018 2:33 PM

When the siren sounded on Sunday, Paul Ahern was swept up with feelings of elation and relief.

North's first VFL victory was icing on the cake for the midfielder, who played in his first competitive game in almost two years.

“I really enjoyed it ... it was unbelievable,” Ahern told North Media.

“It was enjoyable and good to sing the song at the end.”

The 21-year-old collected a game-high 29 disposals in the three-point victory over the Northern Blues.

In slippery conditions, Ahern showed class and composure in the crucial stages of the game.

“The conditions were hard, but my focus before the game was just to be clean around the ball and the contest,” he said.

“I thought our midfield was pretty good in patches, but especially in that last quarter, we really stood up.”

After a disappointing loss the previous week in its practice match against the AFL Academy, North failed to respond in the first three quarters, which resulted in a 25-point Blues lead at three-quarter-time.

Ahern was proud of how his teammates bounced back to secure the four points.

“We got it put on us at half-time and three-quarter-time because we just weren’t good enough around the contest and our effort around the ground,” he said.

“We had a poor start to the second half, but we started to play a bit better going into the last quarter.

“We just wanted to build on that, and [David Loader] put it on us at three-quarter-time to win the hard ball and get it forward so our forwards could have a chance and bring the ball to ground.

“I thought we did that really well, and a lot of blokes stood up in that last term.”

Following four practice games and Sunday’s win, Ahern continues to put his hand up for selection in the hope of making his AFL debut.