BILLY Evans’ AFL career starts on Thursday morning.
Less than 24 hours after being selected by the Brisbane Lions with pick four in the AFL rookie draft, 18-year-old Evans will farewell his family and board a plane for Brisbane.
“The couple of days before the rookie draft I was nervous. I was keen to find out what was going to happen,’’ an elated Evans said.
“It was good that it was over pretty quick today. Brisbane were straight on the phone… I spoke to (coach) Justin Leppitsch who welcomed me to the club.
“I’m on a plane at 9.30am on Thursday and it’s straight into it up there.
“I love the warmer weather, so it should be great up there.
“Mum’s a bit emotional about me moving, but overall it’s exciting.”
The midfielder’s performances this year with the Bendigo Pioneers, Victoria Country and Sandhurst had several AFL clubs interested in securing his talents.
Hawthorn, Geelong and Brisbane showed the most interest prior to last week’s national draft.
Evans was seen as a strong chance to be selected in the national draft, but he was forced to wait an extra six days to hear his name called.
“Brisbane got in contact with me before the national draft, but I hadn’t heard from them since then,’’ Evans said.
“Brisbane did seem keen when they spoke to me originally. They did come to our house to meet with me.
“The only club that spoke to me since the national draft was Essendon. They rang this morning to talk to me and to say they were interested.”
Evans will be greeted in Brisbane by his Bendigo Pioneers team-mate Jaden McGrath.
McGrath was selected by the Lions in the national draft.
“A few of the young draftees will live together in an apartment up until the Christmas break,’’ Evans said.
“I get to come home and see the family over Christmas and then when I get back to Brisbane the club will have me move in with a host family or a senior player.”
Bendigo Pioneers regional manager Ray Byrne said Evans deserved a crack at AFL level.
“Billy has worked extremely hard on his game in the past couple of years,’’ he said.
“Everyone at the club couldn’t be happier for him.”
Sandhurst coach Brett Fitzpatrick said Evans’ efforts in the BFNL finals series showed the teenager could handle playing against men.
“He took some decent knocks, took on some big responsibilities for a kid and absorbed it all really well,’’ Fitzpatrick said.
“Physically, his body is ready to step in to the next level. He’s a terrific kid as well.”
Evans will wear number 46 for the Lions in 2015.