Jurrah pitched into Demons debut - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Jurrah pitched into Demons debut

18/06/2009 04:27:09 PM Comments (0)

From the heart of Australia's Red Centre, would-be Warlpiri tribal elder Liam Jurrah has been given the job to spark Melbourne's flailing attack.

The Demons' latest excitement machine, Jurrah has been pitchforked into Melbourne's forward line for an intriguing AFL debut against Essendon at Etihad Stadium on Friday night.

It's a far cry from the desert region of Yuendumu, 300km north-west of Alice Springs, from where the shy 20-year-old hails.

English is only Jurrah's third language and coach Dean Bailey said on Thursday he had to be given permission from the Warlpiri people before nominating for the pre-season draft, where he was selected by the Demons with pick No.1.

The lanky forward played four VFL games for Collingwood last year before returning home due to the illness of a close friend, but is determined to achieve his AFL dream.

"He is a training tribal elder," said Bailey.

"There is pressure on Liam to perform. He's representing a very proud group of people and indigenous people in the middle of Australia.

"It's a great story yes, and his form at Casey in the last two weeks has been good and he's shown some really good signs at training, so the players are excited for him.

"And even though he might not say much, hopefully tomorrow we'll see a bit of speed and excitement."

Collingwood seemed likely to pick up Jurrah in last year's pre-season draft, only for Melbourne to get in first.

"He's come a long way, but since he's been at Melbourne, his personality is starting to come out a little bit," said Bailey.

"There is a good, funny personality underneath it and it only comes out every now and then, but he's showing a bit more."

Bailey will team Jurrah and No.1 draft pick Jack Watts, unhappy with his own debut in the last-start thumping by Collingwood, together in attack.

"It's exciting, we've got Jack Watts who is quick and agile and we've got Liam Jurrah who is also quick and agile," Bailey said.

"We need a bit of speed, we need something different in our forward line. We'll back those blokes into providing a spark for us in the forward 50."

Bailey admitted the rebuilding Demons were still haunted by their early capitulations against the Magpies in the Queen's Birthday match.

"We were really disappointing in our last game, the first quarter still haunts us a little bit," said Bailey.

"The only way we can (ease the) disappointment is how we attack the game tomorrow night.

"I expect we'll really fight hard."

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