Robert Cianflonegetty

Warren will cheer old team despite heartache of being cut

BEN Warren is a North Melbourne fan again.

But it's understandably taken some time for the former Brisbane boy to be able to cheer on his former team, which will be playing for a spot in next week's grand final when it meets Sydney tonight at ANZ Stadium.

Warren (pictured left with former Kangaroos teammate Lindsay Thomas) spent six seasons at Arden St before he was cut from the playing list at the end of 2012. He admitted there had been "mixed emotions" since his delisting after just 29 games, "especially last year when it's still raw".

"I didn't want them to lose, but I'd watch games and sometimes be a bit jealous of what was going on," he told APN this week. "This year I've slowly gotten over it all. I enjoyed watching them win on the weekend (in the semi-final against Geelong) ... it was probably the first time I've really had that feeling for a couple of years."

Warren was one of nine Queenslanders picked up in the 2006 national draft, alongside David Armitage, Kurt Tippett and Jesse White.

He had shown good signs as a half-forward in 2010 (16 games, 21 goals) but was limited to just four senior appearances over the next two seasons, although he starred with the Kangaroos' VFL affiliate Werribee (19 games, 54 goals) in 2012.

"I'd probably had the best year of footy I've had at VFL level," he recalled.

North officials put him on the trade table at season's end, but "they couldn't really work a deal with me in it ... and I was done".

"As soon as you've got that 'delisted' tag it's hard to get picked up again."

Sticking with Werribee, Warren backed up with a competition-high 59 goals in 2013 and then 39 this season, but, despite being only 25, he isn't holding out hope of getting a second chance at AFL level.

Working as a financial planner in Melbourne, Warren is now content to watch on as good friends Andrew Swallow, who was a groomsman at his wedding, Lachie Hansen, who he was drafted with, and Jack Ziebell, who he lived with for four years, go for premiership glory.

"I don't know how they're gonna go against the Swannies this week, that'll be a tough gig," he said. "But, I know, just talking to a few of the boys, they are more confident than I've ever seen them."

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