After being drafted with pick 43 in the 2018 AFL draft, Richmond’s Jack Ross lived out his childhood dream on the weekend, making his AFL debut in front of an almost 40,000-strong crowd. The 18-year-old midfielder took the opportunity to reflect on his first AFL experience in the Tigers emphatic seven-point victory over Port Adelaide.
When Dimma announced to the playing group in the Thursday morning meeting that I’d be making my debut, I was shocked.
I think a few of my Richmond teammates had been given a heads up leading into the meeting but I had no idea.
I felt a bit of everything, to be honest. I was nervous, excited and anxious about what the whole experience would bring but I was rapt to be given the opportunity.
One of my goals after I was drafted was to make my debut early in the year. I was conscious of showing the club and my teammates that I was willing to work hard to earn my debut.
I’ve adapted well to life at Richmond and I’ve exceeded my own expectations so far.
Running out onto Adelaide Oval the crowd was deafening. Despite there being roughly 40,000 people there in the crowd it felt like it was closer to 90,000.
It was hostile for us Richmond players and the club as a whole but the experience of running out onto the ground for the first time was amazing.
To be able to play an AFL game with that kind of atmosphere is something I won’t take for granted.
Leading into the game I thought my nerves were going to be a lot worse but I surprised myself by being much calmer than I imagined.
Having a couple of pre-season JLT games under my belt held me in good stead for what I could expect.
I tried to bounce off my teammate’s energy and use them to help me feel confident and ready for the match-up. To have the opportunity to start in the midfield helped ease the pressure of getting early touches as well.
I was always around the play and was able to get my first touch early, which settled my nerves and I was able to work my way into the game.
From there, I just played my own brand of football.
With the injuries and outs that we’ve had this week, people had written us off pretty early but I think as a club our goal and vision has always stayed the same.
We back ourselves in and to be able to get the job done was incredible.
We had full confidence in our ability as a team to get the win but having someone like Lynchy kicking six goals certainly made a difference when the game was on the line.
It was incredible to sing the song with them. I was expecting a little Gatorade shower after the win but I was absolutely drenched! It certainly made the win even sweeter.
Having my family, friends and extended family make the trip over was a moment I won’t forget.
They’ve been there every step of the way for me and are the reason I am where I am today so to be able to celebrate with them was a special moment.
Since the game, I’ve spoken to a few of my teammates and they’ve given me some good advice going forward.
I’m going to keep playing my natural brand of football, whether that be in the AFL or the VFL.
I want to keep continuing to put my best foot forward and I’m fortunate that Richmond are encouraging and supportive of me being able to achieve that.