Mature-aged recruit Darcy Fort has made a belated dream AFL debut for Geelong in their 44-point win over the Western Bulldogs.
The 25-year-old Fort has taken the long road to the top level, beginning his career with local club South Barwon before stints with Werribee and Footscray in the VFL and SANFL outfit Central District.
With No.1 ruckman Rhys Stanley a late withdrawal due to an adductor injury, another inexperienced big man Ryan Abbott and Fort were left to ruck against big Bulldog Jackson Trengove at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday.
In only his fifth AFL game, Abbott played his part in the Cats' victory.
Fort did even more than that on debut, marking strongly and booting three goals while also taking his turn in the ruck.
"It was great for him," said Cats coach Chris Scott.
"He kicked his first goal within 25 minutes and (defender) Jake Kolodjashnij still can't get there after almost 100 games.
"So the boys will get some humour out of that.
"We thought he competed well.
"He got his hands on the ball in the ruck and was a genuine big target.
"With the (dewy) conditions changing so much post-halftime it made it a little bit harder for him - he probably wasn't the threat that he looked like being early in the game.
"But I thought he adapted his role pretty well.
"I can't remember him being outmarked."
Stanley and ruck-forward Esava Ratugolea could both be in line for recalls as soon as next week's clash against Gold Coast.
But Scott was grateful to get the opportunity to cast his eye over the Abbott-Fort combination at the elite level.
"Predominantly Ryan Abbott has been playing as a ruckman at VFL level and Fort as the forward," he said.
"That part wasn't foreign to them.
"It was more the occasion and the opposition and the guys who were around them.
"We thought there were some good signs there."
Australian Associated Press