Marty Hore will realise his football dream when he makes his AFL debut for Melbourne at the MCG on Saturday.
The former Leitchville-Gunbower and Bendigo Pioneers player took the long road to the AFL, but his hard work and self-belief has paid dividends with the 23-year-old selected by the Demons to take on Port Adelaide.
"A lot of people say that it's too hard and that it (playing AFL) is out of reach, but he's shown if you work hard enough for long enough you can get an opportunity,'' Marty's proud father Steven Hore said on Friday.
"We're so happy for him. All his effort has come to fruition. It's a nice reward for him."
A talented forward as a junior, Hore made his senior debut with Leitchville-Gunbower at the age of 16 before going on to play in the TAC Cup with the Bendigo Pioneers.
He stayed with the Pioneers as a 19-year-old where he finished runner-up in the club's best and fairest award.
Hore's form sparked interest from AFL clubs, including Melbourne, but his name wasn't called at the 2015 AFL National Draft.
Hore made the move to Melbourne to play with Collingwood's VFL team and his game blossomed.
He won the 2017 and 2018 Collingwood VFL best and fairest awards and was named in the back six of the VFL Team of the Year in back-to-back seasons.
After passing on Hore at the 2015 Draft, the Demons pounced last November, selecting the left-footer with pick 56.
"Marty has always improved and he got wonderful opportunities with the Pioneers and Collingwood in the VFL,'' Steven Hore said.
"He got stronger and fitter and his game developed. He had great coaches along the way in Brett Henderson (Pioneers) and Jared Rivers (Collingwood) which has been really important.
"A lot of people want to get there in a hurry. Marty kept working hard on his game and improved all the time.
"We were always hopeful he'd get there (to the AFL). It was just a matter of when."
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Steven Hore said his son's journey to the AFL should be a reminder to all young footballers that missing selection in the draft at under-18 level was not the end of their AFL dream.
"The VFL system was really good for Marty,'' Steven Hore said.
"That extra time to fill out his body and work on his game was what he needed. He's ready for the next level now."
Parochial Essendon supporters for many years, the Hore family will ditch the red and black in favour of the red and blue when they make the trek from Leitchville to the MCG on Saturday.
"There a fair bit of family going down, a lot of mates as well and his four grandparents are still alive so they'll be there as well,'' Steven Hore said.
"We've always barracked for Essendon, then we swung to Collingwood a little bit and now we're through and through Melbourne."
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