Im­pres­sive AFL de­but for Mitch McGovern

Albany Advertiser - - ADVERTISER SPORT - Cameron New­bold

Young for­ward Mitch McGovern be­came the lat­est Great South­ern prod­uct to play AFL football af­ter mak­ing an im­pres­sive de­but for Ade­laide in their nar­row loss to North Mel­bourne on Satur­day night at Eti­had Sta­dium.

McGovern, the son of ex-Syd­ney Swans and Fre­man­tle Dock­ers player Andrew McGovern and brother of star West Coast Ea­gles swing­man Jeremy McGovern, was re­warded for his strong pre-sea­son train­ing and NAB Chal­lenge form by be­ing named for the Crows in new coach Don Pyke’s first se­nior game in charge.

The tal­ented 21-year-old played as a high for­ward in the 10-point loss and gath­ered his first AFL pos­ses­sion in the first term with a strong mark and kick just back­ward of cen­tre.

McGovern was fe­ro­cious on his at­tack around the ball, lay­ing three strong tack­les and im­pos­ing him­self phys­i­cally sev­eral times.

He fin­ished with nine dis­pos­als and five marks, two of which were con­tested, and had a goal as­sist in the first half.

In the fi­nal term, McGovern marked strongly in the for­ward pocket, but missed the set shot, and af­ter that he had two fur­ther snaps on goal, both of which were be­hinds in the pul­sat­ing fin­ish.

The North Al­bany prod­uct said it was a dream come true to make his AFL de­but, fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of his fa­ther and brother.

“I found out on Wed­nes­day night with a phone call from Pykey af­ter team selections,” he said.

“The feel­ing, it was like a rush of ex­cite­ment — I was al­most numb.

“It was a great feel­ing af­ter re­ceiv­ing that phone call.

“This is some­thing I’ve dreamt of from a young age.”

McGovern felt he played his role as a pres­sure for­ward well in the Crows’ sea­son-opener.

“I didn’t feel out of place at all,” he said. “In the high-in­ten­sity type of game we were play­ing, I thought I fared pretty well.

“It’s such a good ex­pe­ri­ence to be in­volved in a game like that, and if I had fin­ished those goals off, it would have made the night a lot bet­ter.”

A large con­tin­gent of fam­ily and friends in­clud­ing Andrew and McGovern’s mum Michelle flew over to the game.

“Mum and dad were over and mum’s brother and fam­ily from the Gold Coast as well, plus a big group of my mates,” McGovern said. “I rang Jezza when I found out. “He was rapt for me, and gave me some ad­vice on the game.

“He was stoked for me, but he was spew­ing he couldn’t come over and watch.”

Jeremy kicked a goal from nine pos­ses­sions and six marks in the Ea­gles’ 64-point thump­ing of Bris­bane at Do­main Sta­dium on Sun­day af­ter­noon.

Pic­ture: Getty Images

Crows’ Mitch McGovern marks the ball against Andrew Swal­low of the Kan­ga­roos.

Pic­ture: Iain Gille­spie

West Coast's Jeremy McGovern punches the ball.

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