Before coach Paul Roos broke the news about Christian Petracca’s long-awaited AFL debut, he had fun making the youngster wait a little bit longer.
The No.2 pick in the 2014 draft will play this Saturday against St Kilda at Etihad Stadium.
Petracca would have played senior football last year, but a knee reconstruction wrecked his season.
Then the 20-year-old angered Roos for breaking his foot over the Christmas break when he tried a backyard basketball dunk.
Their conversation on Wednesday went much better.
A video on the club website shows Petracca in Roos’ office, discussing his playing form after three games in the VFL.
“Obviously the way you’ve been playing is the way we want you to play and the team is in good form,” Roos said.
“So it’s hard to find a spot for you at the moment … but we’ve found one for you.”
After shaking hands, Petracca slumped back in his seat with relief.
“You’ve worked your backside off – a little hiccup over Christmas, slam-dunking the ball – mate, you’ve worked your way in,” Roos added.
Petracca later admitted the wait had tested him.
“I never thought the day would come to be honest,” he said.
Before the news broke, teammate Jack Viney had said it was right that Petracca was being made to wait for his debut.
“(Christian) is a very excitable character and someone that’s extremely eager to debut,” he said.
“The club’s done a terrific job of just curbing his expectations.
“As much as I want him in the team, it’s hard to take someone out.”
Viney also said on Wednesday that he could not separate the side’s new hard edge from their winning record.
The Demons have won their last two games for a 3-2 start.
“The guys are playing on the edge,” he said.
“There’s times when we might go a bit too far. Like on the weekend, with Tommy Bugg coming out and apologising for some of the things we did.
“I’m really enjoying how we’re playing our football at the moment.
“We’re playing on the edge. We’re playing competitively. We’re standing up for our mates. That’s a team I want to be involved in.”