Canberra debutant Matt Hambleton wasn’t sure if he would get an opportunity at NEAFL football this season, but was called upon for Saturday's encounter with Redland at Scottsdale Park.
The 17-year-old was named as a travelling emergency for the final round and was preparing to be Canberra's runner before he was told he would be making his NEAFL debut.
“Kade only told me a couple minutes before the boys were running out, I thought I was going to be runner,” Hambleton laughed.
"I didn’t really have time to be nervous, or think about the game really, which was probably a good thing in a way."
The Gungahlin Jets junior told canberrademons.com.au despite the result it was a special moment to debut alongside his new teammates.
“Obviously I was disappointed with the result but it was good to get a taste of NEAFL football and to be able to play with all the boys was really special,” Hambleton said.
Hambleton highlighted speed as the main difference in the jump from the AFL Canberra competition to the NEAFL and will prioritise strength and fitness training ahead of his second season at the club next year.
"The speed of the game was obviously the main difference which did take some getting used to," he said.
"Now my focus turns to building up my strength and fitness, which will hopefully allow me to push for more opportunities at the NEAFL level next year."