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Durdin and Nielson happy down back

December 2, 2014: Sam Durdin interview NMFC.com.au caught up with draftee Sam Durdin on his first day at the club.
Sam Durdin sees himself primarily as a key defender, but 2014's No.16 draft pick is happy to play wherever his new club North Melbourne wants.
 
Durdin was thrown all over the ground in his final season of junior football this year.
 
Playing for South Australia in the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships and SANFL club West Adelaide at senior, reserves and under-18 level, Durdin moved between defence, attack and the ruck.
 
At 197cm, Durdin expects his stints in the ruck at AFL level will be far more limited.
 
Although confident in his ability to play in the forward line, Durdin told AFL.com.au on Tuesday he is a more natural defender.
 
"I see myself as a key-position player who's able to impact both in defence and up forward," Durdin says.
 
"It's up to the club what they need or want out of me. They'll probably concentrate on developing either my defending game or my forward game.
 
"I think I'm more comfortable down back as a defender, but it's up to the coaches and I'll work on whatever they want."
 
North's second selection at last Thursday night's AFL Draft, Daniel Nielson, is no doubt where North sees him playing.
 
Nielson, 193cm, says he's confident swinging between defence and attack, but realises North sees him as a last-line key defender.
 
This year's No.25 pick says his athleticism, speed (he finished third in the repeat sprint at the draft combine) and competitive nature were his greatest strengths.
 
"I'm really hard in the contest, I'm such a competitive person," Nielson says.
 
"I hate being beaten, so that sort of correlates to that backman (focus) of being on your man."
 
Both Nielson and Durdin are excited at the prospect of working with senior North key defenders such as Scott Thompson and Nathan Grima.
 
"It's such a privilege to actually be down here and have these boys around me to learn off," Nielson says.
 
"They've already started helping. At the first training session, if you made a decision and it wasn't the right one at that time they came up straight away and gave you the best help.
 
"They do it in such a nice way too. It's just constructive feedback and not given in a bad way at all.
 
"You've got to love having these boys around to teach you more and more every day."
 
After bolstering their key-position stocks with Durdin and Nielson, North used its final draft pick this year, No.36, to select utility Ed Vickers-Willis.
 
Vickers-Willis, 190cm, spent most of his time in defence with Vic Metro this year, showcasing his ability to play on smalls and talls.
 
But he played in the midfield when representing his school, Melbourne Grammar, and the Sandringham Dragons in the TAC Cup.
 
Vickers-Willis says that over the past two years he has played his best football in defence.
 
But the 18-year-old recognises his height might make him an attractive midfield option for North in coming years.
 
"I think I've got the capability to become a tall midfielder, which is highly valued in today's game," Vickers-Willis says.
 
"I'm 190cm and hopefully still growing. If I can to 191-192cm, that would give me a real advantage around the clearances."