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Xavier Duursma: A star on the rise

After being taken with pick 18 in last year’s AFL draft, Port Adelaide’s Xavier Duursma has starred in his debut season. He went One on One with Jack Hudson.

PHOTO: Jack Hudson

Jack Hudson: What was it like playing your juniors with Foster Football Club?

Xavier Duursma: In our country town, we didn’t have ‘junior’ juniors, so no under 11s, under 13s and that kind of stuff.

I started off with East Ringwood, where my cousins played in Melbourne every two weeks or so.

My dad and one of his mates in Foster, they created a junior club called the Corner Inlet Stingrays, I played there for under 11s and under 13s, then I went to Foster.

Foster is my home club.

JH: You were the skipper down at the Gippsland Power – is leadership something you pride yourself on?

XD: It’s something I like to do, I like to lead from the front.

I’m a very proud Gippsland boy, so I loved the opportunity to get to lead the boys last year, and we had quite a successful year making it to the preliminary final.

I enjoy leading and hopefully one day I’ll do it again, it’s good fun.

JH: What do you remember about the lead up to the draft and how many clubs did you speak to?

XD: I spoke to every club except North Melbourne.

It was interesting in terms of that, I thought I was going to go in between 10 or 20.

I was a little bit nervous going into it, you don’t know where you’re going to go.

I was nervous on the night, but I thought I managed my nerves well.

But once you get into that place and sitting down, people start getting called out like that, it starts to chew away at your mind and you wonder if you’re going to go, or where you’re going to go – it’s all up in the air.

You have no control over it, and it’s your whole future up in the air.

It’s good fun, and every young boy or girl that gets to do it will enjoy it because it’s bloody good fun.

JH: How did it feel when Port called out your name?

XD: Coming into the draft I thought I was going to end up in Adelaide with the Power or the Crows or with GWS.

They were the three clubs I thought I was most likely to go to.

I was very open and happy to move interstate.

I lived in country Victoria in the middle of nowhere, so I’d have to move to do any kind of job anyway.

I’m going to have to move with whatever I do.

JH: What was the process like?

XD: Ken (Hinkley) was there on the night and Chris Davies and the rest of the staff, Kochie was there too.

We got to know each other straight away, the club did all the right things and made me feel welcome straight away.

I had a couple of days to pack my bags and get everything organised and head out on the Sunday and get over to Adelaide and into it.

I’ve loved every minute of it, and I’m loving it here.

JH: What was your first pre-season like?

XD: I walked around with starry eyes really, seeing these blokes that have been here for a long time; Travis Boak, Robbie Gray, Justin Westhoff, Hamish Hartlett – all those guys you grew up watching and now you get to be out there with them and alongside them.

To be honest I don’t remember my first training as it was a bit of a blur, but I remember it was hard – they didn’t go easy on us in our first session.

It was fantastic and it was great fun.

JH: You made your debut against Melbourne at the MCG, not many better places to make your debut. How did you feel going into it?

XD: It was pretty awesome, it worked out really well that my debut was in Melbourne where my family and friends could come and watch.

We got the job done as well, I couldn’t ask for much more out of my debut, getting the win, kicking a goal and getting to celebrate with friends and family there.

I was very lucky in the end with that.

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Jack grew up in Gawler, South Australia – just 45 minutes north of Adelaide – and has a passion for all things football and soccer. Jack has worked in the media for more than four years, and hosts his own sports show on Barossa radio station BBBfm. He previously played football for Elizabeth, South Gawler, Gawler Central and at junior level with Central District, and is a die-hard Port Adelaide fan.