Given Port aren’t back in Melbourne until round seven and aren’t playing in Geelong this year, it has to be this weekend.
Drew is much loved at Koroit, having played in the 2014-16 flags, including a best-on-ground performance in the 2016 decider when he returned from TAC Cup to play finals.
“He didn’t want to play in the finals [as he] said ‘it is not fair, I haven’t been there’ but we said we actually really need you if we are going to win it,” McLaren said.
Drew changed his mind when Melbourne development coach Brendan McCartney convinced him to play during a pre-draft interview with the Demons.
McCartney, who knew Koroit’s coach at the time Adam Downie, told him “to never pass up a chance to play in a grand final”.
By coincidence McCartney then had to watch Drew pick up 21 disposals against the Demons on Saturday, his work rate standing out.
Drew, the cousin of Essendon’s Martin Gleeson, was one of 22 players to debut in round one but one of just four debutants who had been on an AFL list before 2019.
FROM FRYING PAN INTO THE FIRE
Nothing wrong with Geelong’s Jordan Clark wearing baggy shorts during his Friday night debut however one of his teammates, who was also making his debut, didn’t miss him when asked about the Eddie Betts-style shorts on radio after the game.
“He’s just got such a small bum, yeah frypan arse,” Tom Atkins said on K rock.
Regardless of Clark’s wardrobe, the Cats’ decision to include six new faces (including four first gamers) in their round-one team was not as big as it seemed at first glance.
Since Chris Scott began coaching in 2011, the Cats have produced 15 first-gamers in round one.
The continuing trend also meant champion Cat Gary Ablett played alongside his 200th teammate on Friday night.
Given the dual Brownlow medallist’s famous dad was not great at remembering names of teammates in his team on the day, we’re guessing Ablett might have trouble reeling off the 205 players he’s played alongside since his 2002 debut.
GOOD, AND BAD, DAY FOR DOEDEES
While Adelaide’s intercept defender Tom Doedee, 22, injured a knee on Saturday and will miss the rest of the season, his brother Jack was helping bowl his local cricket team into a grand final.
Despite being shattered when the news came through from Adelaide, Jack, 24, took 1-11 off 21 overs for Murgheboluc thirds on Saturday, just weeks after taking a hat-trick on his way to gathering 8-28 against Bell Park, figures he backed up with 5-20 in the second dig.
Doedee’s parents, Cheryl and Steve, flew back from Adelaide to watch the second day of the semi-final, their sense of perspective seemingly as good as their AFL son who spoke with such maturity after his injury.
Peter Ryan is a sports reporter with The Age covering AFL, horse racing and other sports.