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High chance Rance better for wait

WHEN YOU were a kid, it was the night before Christmas that took forever.

But at least you got to unwrap the presents at 6am or 7am, or whenever your mum and dad let you.

Draft day is far worse – you don't start until 10, and then you have to wait until someone surprises you with your present.

If they do.

Defender Alex Rance went into draft day last year with people saying he was a good chance to be selected in the top 10, but it didn't work out that way.

"It was pretty nerve-wracking, especially the night before – it seemed to be the longest night of my life, I woke up every couple of hours," he told

"I had a few family and friends over on the Saturday morning, and it was a very nervous countdown as we watched it live on the laptop.

"It's a bit hard to take something like being talked about as top 10 – you try to keep your composure and not let it affect you, and say you're happy to go at any number, but secretly you want to go top 10.

"But in the end, you're just happy to go anywhere.

"The media can build you up a little bit to think you're potentially something you're not, and that was the case with me. I heard a few rumours about how I may be top 10, and when I got picked up at number 18, I was a little bit disappointed.

"When thinking about it, I should have been ecstatic with that."

Rance admitted his thoughts started to wander a bit once the selections reached double figures.

"It was really difficult, because once you're out of the top-10 zone, you start to think about whether you'd like to stay home in Perth, or where your next preference was," he said.

"But it was almost a bit of a relief – because I knew that I would go somewhere – knowing you don't have that 'top 10' over your head anymore.

"So by then, I was just happy to go wherever and just enjoy the rest of the day."

At that stage, Rance knew he wanted to go to a club that he could grow with – so lasting until the second round wasn't that bad.

"To be honest, I was just relieved to get past Geelong – I'd struggle to get into their VFL team," he said with a laugh.

"When Richmond selected me, I was extremely happy. [It's] a club that's really going places and, with the potential they had already picked up in the draft, I could really see myself playing a role, and that I was needed at the club.

"So I'm really looking forward to starting to show my worth over the next couple of years."

Named as an emergency for a handful of Tigers games in the final weeks of the season, Rance will hope to end that wait in the opening weeks of 2009.