Impressive AFL debut for Mitch McGovern
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.
Crows’ Mitch McGovern marks the ball against Andrew Swallow of the Kangaroos.
West Coast's Jeremy McGovern punches the ball.