It can be hard to think of a time when a professional footballer would be more nervous than before their debut, the first experience of the top level and, for many, playing in front of thousands of people.

Eddie Ford made his first start for North Melbourne against Geelong in Round 20, with the young forward also managing to hit the scoreboard and kick his first goal in AFL football.

Having been the unused medical sub in Round 16 against the Western Bulldogs, Ford’s first appearance on the field feels like it’s been a long time coming.

He says the experience of being medical sub held him in good stead for his playing debut.

“Obviously I’d had a bit of prep being the emergency sub, so I knew what I was doing this time,” Ford told North Media.

“I’m a pretty relaxed guy, I don’t get too nervous before games. I go into the game and try to play my role.

“I [was] really excited to get out there and help the boys, and hopefully we can get a win next week.”

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Eddie Ford's first start - Presented by Canterbury (Round 20, 2021)

After joining North Melbourne in the 2020 AFL Draft, it hasn't taken long for dynamic youngster Eddie Ford to settle in at Arden Street and carve out a place in the Kangaroos' forward line.

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The reaction of a player kicking their first goal in AFL football varies between individuals, but one thing is always the same, and that’s the whole team celebrates.

Atu Bosenavulagi also kicked his first major in senior football against Geelong, and his reaction was a wide, ear-to-ear smile. Ford, on the other hand, let out a roar of celebration.

“I let out a big yell. I was holding balance, the ball squirted out and I got onto it, it was pretty tight at that point and it took a good bounce,” he said.

“That’s my role … to kick goals. I only converted one unfortunately but I’ll keep trying to kick goals.

“I know my ability is there, and I’m an AFL player … I’m really excited for the future and what the boys can do.”