Nick Larkey has been rewarded for his breakout year with a two year contract extension at North Melbourne.
The key forward had been starved of opportunities until the 2019 season, and burst on the scene in Round 6, kicking three goals against Port Adelaide.
After a few quieter weeks, the 21-year-old booted another bag of three goals in Round 10 against the Bulldogs, followed by a career-high five goals against St Kilda in Round 16.
That five goal haul secured him a Rising Star nomination and identified him as a key to the club’s future.
"I'm thrilled to have been offered a two-year deal,” Larkey told North Media.
“I love this club and want to be a part of what’s to come.
“I believe we have an exciting future with the list and the talent we are developing and I’m just really excited to be a part of it.”
However it hasn’t all been easy for the 198cm forward.
Drafted with pick 73 in the 2016 Draft, Larkey had to bide his time in the VFL in 2017 before finally making his debut in Round 18.
He played his second game two weeks later in Round 20 but wasn’t afforded another opportunity, and wasn’t sighted at all in 2018; instead he plied his trade in the state league topping the goal-kickers list and winning the Frosty Miller medal.
“It was tough but I knew I just had to put my head down and work as hard as I possibly could and keep putting my hand up for selection,” Larkey continued.
“Looking back, the stint in the VFL in 2018 was the best thing for me because it proved to me that I could be a main target up forward and contribute consistently. I had a lot that I needed to work on and working with the development coaches was great for me and my growth as a player.”
Most recently, Larkey has been dealing with heart palpitations; a condition which saw him sit out the final quarter of North’s loss to Essendon.
“It’s something we’ve been managing throughout the year,” he explained.
“I had an episode in the pre-season where my heart rate went through the roof during a game. It was pretty concerning but the doctors made sure I was ok and calmed me down and reassured me. It’s something that happens randomly but it’s easy to fix with a very minor procedure that I’ll look to have at the end of the year.
“It’s not something I’m overly worried about, and it’s not going to impact my career.”