Port Adelaide’s matured-aged rookie Brett Eddy sealed an AFL premiership-season debut by booting five goals in Sunday’s 28-point win against Hawthorn.
Power coach Ken Hinkley assured the 27-year-old Eddy would debut after his star showing in Port’s 0.14.12 (96) to 1.8.11 (68) trial victory.
Eddy kicked four of his goals in a 10-minute purple patch at Noarlunga in Adelaide’s south.
Hinkley says he’ll move to upgrade Eddy from the rookie list to allow his selection for Port’s premiership season opener on March 25 against Sydney.
“We reward form normally so I’d be surprised if there’s not a 27-year-old debutant,” Hinkley said.
Eddy, who quit his stockbroking job after being rookie-listed late last year by the Power, had dominated in recent seasons in the SANFL – he was the state league’s leading goalkicker last year.
“He probably deserved it before this pre-season but you get reluctant because of age,” Hinkley said.
“You look at the level under you and he has kicked 70, 80 goals consistently.”
Against Hawthorn, Eddy turned the tide Port’s way with his third-term scoring spree.
Hawthorn led by 10 points at halftime before Eddy’s burst triggered a seven-goal to none third quarter by Port, who notched their first win of the three pre-season games.
Former Essendon ruckman Paddy Ryder, returning for Port after a year-long ban, was prominent with 35 hitouts, seven marks and a goal.
And the Power’s West Australian draftee Sam Powell-Pepper (23 possessions, one goal) surely booked a premiership-season debut.
The Hawks – mentored by assistant Adem Yze, as head coach Alastair Clarkson opted for a seat in the grandstand among the 5628-strong crowd – were superbly served by recruit Tom Mitchell.
The former Swan collected a game-high 29 disposals including eight clearances and laid six tackles, while fellow newcomer to Hawthorn, Jaeger O’Meara, impressed with 27 possessions.
“He’s a beauty,” Yze said of O’Meara.
“He has got better and better each week.
“And the synergy within our midfield will get hopefully better as time goes on as well, him and Tom Mitchell especially – learning our way and the way that we play … they have just got better and better each week.”
Another recruit, ex-Adelaide utility Ricky Henderson, gathered 21 touches and kicked a supergoal in his first outing in Hawthorn colours, but ex-Tiger Ty Vickery was quiet – one goal from his eight disposals.