While every game in North Melbourne colours is an honour, for Sam Wright Sunday’s clash against the Hawks will hold extra significance.
Hailing from Katamatite, Wright played under 18’s matches at Deakin Reserve in Shepparton – but AFL is a whole other level.
‘‘It’s really a dream come true, when I was in high school I remember going across the road waiting for the AFL games to start at Deakin,’’ Wright told Shepparton News’ Oliver Caffrey.
‘‘I played a few Bushies’ (Murray Bushrangers) games there, but to play an AFL game at Deakin has basically got me through the pre-season.’’
A near full-strength Hawthorn side awaits Wright and his teammates, but having the chance to test themselves against the best so early in the year is considered a bonus.
‘‘We’ve had Hawthorn in the NAB Challenge the last few years and playing the reigning premier there’s always that extra spark,’’ Wright said.
“Every time we put on that North jumper there’s motivation, it doesn’t matter if it’s a pre-season match or a final, we’re always going to give it our all.”
Wright was one of the Kangaroos’ most important players during last year’s finals series, and will look to emulate that form in 2015.
‘‘To play in those finals was extra motivation for this year and I’m really excited about the year ahead,” he said.
‘‘I’m looking to lock down a spot at half-back and create some use of the ball there.
‘‘I’ve settled into that position now, probably playing forward and back hurt my confidence a bit, but to settle in the one position has been great.’’
His excitement for the season is clear, but for now Wright can’t wait to step into familiar territory at Deakin Reserve.
‘‘It’s good for Shepp to have two top-four teams there and even the other boys who aren’t from Shepp in the side speak about how good the country atmosphere is.’’