Northern Blues duo Kye Declase and Bailey Jordan marked their respective VFL debuts with victories in yesterday’s 31-point win over North Ballarat.
Both individuals – who have been standouts for Northern’s Development squad – have had remarkably similar career paths, starting with their years at the Northern Knights.
Declase and Jordan were both in the Knights system in 2014, as well as spending their top-age year as 19-year-olds for the TAC Cup side while featuring sporadically in the Blues Development squad in 2015.
Making their way over to the VFL team over the summer, their paths became even more closely intertwined when Jordan became a permanent defender alongside Declase.
Both men would then go onto play their first VFL games against North Ballarat, and celebrated it with their first win.
“Both players earned their spot, which is what we’re trying to promote: to have those guys show form in the Development side and push for selection,” senior coach Josh Fraser said post-match.
“We’re really excited as a football club to have those younger players pushing up for selection and to debut in a winning team is special for them.”
Declase came into the side as 23rd man, while Jordan found out on the morning of the game that he would officially be making his debut against the Roosters.
Jordan registered 10 disposals in a defensive post, while Declase collected seven possessions – the majority of them early – rotating between defence and on the wing.
“I feel I went alright trying to work my way into the game – I started slow but adjusted to the pace as the game went on,” Jordan said after the win.
They were joined on debut by Carlton’s Harry McKay, which remarkably brought Northern’s tally of VFL debutants to 24 from just 13 games.
It was a day of firsts for the Blues, with the club also celebrating its first win in Ballarat since 2008.
The trio will be looking to double it up next weekend, when the Blues meet a Footscray side on a high after defeating ladder-leaders Casey by a solitary point.
“Hopefully from here, I can retain my place in the seniors and the team can keep going on and get the win against the Dogs,” Jordan said.
The Blues host the Dogs next Sunday from 2pm as Northern returns to Ikon Park.