87 Hinkley lauds amazing Gray
EIGHT months after being diagnosed with cancer, Port Adelaide star Robbie Gray said he had never been happier after a game than when the siren sounded last night.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever been that happy after the siren has gone,’’ said Gray, who became the fourth man to win three Showdown Medals after producing a six-goal performance against the Crows.
“I’m just really happy to be back playing footy.
“It has been a pretty big eight months for me and to be back doing what I love and get this result, it’s great.
“The emotion I felt when that siren went is right up there with anything across my footy career, so it was certainly a special one.”
Gray, 30, turned the game on its head with five thirdquarter goals.
Port appeared gone just before halftime when it trailed by 27 points before small forward/ midfielder Gray kicked a goal just before the siren.
He then kicked five goals in the third stanza to push his side 12 points clear at the final change.
“The ball just kept coming my way and everything just seemed to be clicking,’’ said Gray, who was diagnosed with testicular cancer the week after Port was knocked out of last year’s finals by West Coast in their elimination final.
“I was really happy that I was able to finish off and put it on the scoreboard,” he said. “It was even nicer to get the win.’’
Hinkley said Gray’s performance, which included 20 disposals and five clearances, showed he was a modern-day great.
“He plays all right, doesn’t he?’’ Hinkley said.
“Where he rates is not up to me to decide, but he is a great player. If you ask me he’s the best player in the league tonight because he kicked six in a Showdown and we win by five points.
“You don’t do what Robbie’s done, a three-times bestand-fairest, All-Australian and Showdown medallist without being a great player. It’s pretty simple.”