If there’s one thing Port Adelaide fans value above all else, it’s courage, and youngster Lachie Jones showed tonight that he’s got it in spades.
Port failed to make the most of their chances in the first half, coming into the break kicking six goals and 10 behinds but Jones was among a number of Port players that could hold their heads high coming off at the main break.
One particular contest stood out late in the second quarter when the ball came out to the wing and Jones threw himself at the contest.
He earned the free kick and Port went forward but the greater consequence of the act was the effect it had on the crowd. From that point on, every time he went near the ball the atmosphere rose.
Coach Ken Hinkley was full of praise for the youngster who happened to make his debut on his birthday.
“He was really good I thought,” Hinkley said.
“He plays with some power and he’s going to make some mistakes but Lach’s pretty impressive.
“It was his birthday today, he’s a Port fan and he’s been part of the family for a long period of time.
“He had a pretty good 19th birthday I reckon.”
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He finished the game with eight intercept possessions and was a key part of Port Adelaide’s ability to rebound and enter the forward 50, particularly in the second half.
Jones was not the only debutant on the oval tonight with Richmond’s Rhyan Mansell and Will Martyn both getting their first game in what turned out to be a baptism of fire.
“It was a fair initiation wasn’t it. It was a great game so they showed enough for us,” coach Damian Hardwick said.
“The speed of the game out there is breakneck speed. They’re coming from a development level that is a long way off the speed of an AFL game so it takes a little bit of time.
“Some of the guys were a little bit upset but the reality is it’s a tough game.
“You couldn’t have picked a tougher game to play your first game in than tonight but they’ll learn a lot from it, they’ll get better and we’re really excited about what they’ll bring going forward.”
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