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Joyce joins select few of Gold Coast locals at the Suns

New Suns rookie Jesse Joyce. Picture: Getty Images - ${keywords}
New Suns rookie Jesse Joyce. Picture: Getty Images
I'm stoked to be here, I get to live out of home and play here - it's a bit of a dream
Jesse Joyce

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A GOLD Coast product playing for Gold Coast – it hasn't happened too often in the club's young existence, but you can now add rookie Jesse Joyce to the short list.

Joyce was born in Ferntree Gully, 40km from Melbourne, but after moving to the Coast at age two, he can be classed as a local.

Not only is it a tick for the Suns, but for their academy as well.

While northern rivals Brisbane Lions, Sydney Swans and Greater Western Sydney were all rightfully been lauded for their academy crops at Tuesday's AFL Draft, the Suns were left out in the cold.

But Joyce's selection in Friday's NAB AFL Rookie Draft was the result of five years in the Suns' system.

He joins now-delisted Jared Ellis and retired Andrew Boston as the only academy-produced players to earn a spot on the Suns' list, and current full-back Rory Thompson, retired Andrew Raines and delisted Joel Wilkinson as locally produced players to wear the red and yellow.

Joyce, who is a midfielder/defender, said it was a special feeling.

"I'm stoked. Just being a part of the academy and coming through the system is humbling," Joyce said.

"It's been five years and they've been a big part of my development. I owe a lot to Aaron Rodgers (academy head coach) and Jason Torney (academy manager) for that.

"I'm stoked to be here, I get to live out of home and play here - it's a bit of a dream."

The 18-year-old said after five years of seeing Gary Ablett, David Swallow and co. walking around the Metricon Stadium corridors, he could now shake their hand as an equal.

"I've definitely learnt a lot from them," he said.

"I saw this stadium being built. I used to train on the side field and watched it being built.

"It's come a long way. I'm very proud of the football club and happy to be a part of it."