You beauty - Bute-Paskeville's Lachie Jones to debut for Port in the AFL
The Power tout him as a 'future cult hero' and he'll emerge on the biggest stage in South Australia, at a sell-out crowd at Adelaide Oval against reigning premiers Richmond.
Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley is primed to make one change to the field 22 for the AFL preliminary final rematch against the Tigers with all 38,000 tickets taken up for the Oval's first full house of Season 2021.
Lachie Jones will turn 19 on Friday and replaces ruckman-forward Pete Ladhams in the 22 players that lost by 37 points at West Coast's Perth Stadium on Easter Saturday.
Below: footage of Jones receiving the news he would debut against the Tigers:
Last year's No.16 national draft pick Jones' entry to the AFL line-up gives Hinkley more flexibility, particularly in midfield rotations that struggled under West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui's ruck dominance in their last outing. Coach Ken Hinkley told the PortAdelaideFC.com.au website:
"Definitely one or two (other players can shuffle from half-back)," Hinkley said at Adelaide Oval on Friday. "(Dan) Houston could play midfield; (Hamish) Hartlett could play in there as well ... (Ryan) Burton. We are pretty lucky with flexibility from our half-backs. They can all play a slightly different role.
"We spent a lot of time over the summer making sure players could deal with different roles."
Lachie Jones had limited game-time in Port's heavy loss to Norwood in the SANFL, but did enough to satisfy Port coaching staff he was ready to debut.
The Power say his strong physique and uncompromising game makes him appear ready for AFL action - and 'certain of quickly being embraced as a new cult hero by the Port Adelaide faithful.'
Hinkley relished the prospect of Jones lining up on half-back against Richmond Brownlow Medallist and don't-argue specialist Dustin Martin:
"There would be a collision ... and Lachie would be okay.
"He is ready to play; he played a lot of senior football (in the SANFL with league premier Woodville-West Torrens) last year. As a club we have been waiting for this moment ... he had a little hamstring that put him back a little bit, but he is aggressive and ready to play.
"He is one of those mature young people who is right to go to play men's footy. He is a big boy. He is aggressive with it. He is explosive. He has a lot things that suggest he will be a successful AFL footballer. Now he gets his first test ... against the reigning premiers."