If playing your first AFL match wasn’t nerve-racking enough, how about doing it up against a 388-game veteran?
The thought left Greater Western Sydney rookie Rory Lobb wide-eyed and sleepless on Saturday morning.
But by Saturday night the 21-year-old was on cloud nine after his dream start in the young Giants’ honourable 15-point loss to Essendon.
With his first kick at senior level, Lobb – unperturbed by his experienced opponent Dustin Fletcher – nabbed his maiden major in the game’s opening minutes at Spotless Stadium.
It followed a couple of impressive early grabs which drew plenty of cheers from his home crowd, including his parents who flew over from Perth to watch.
“I was pretty nervous when I took the mark and the boys were saying `you’ve got to finish off all the work’,” Lobb told AAP.
“I just went back and when it came off the boot, I was so happy because I realised that I’d actually kicked it.
“And then I just ran and jumped into (Adam) Tomlinson’s arms. All the boys got around me, so I was really, really happy with it.”
At 205cm, Lobb is the tallest player on the Giants list.
The fledgling club signed the ex-basketballer from West Australian state league team Swan Districts with pick 29 in last year’s AFL draft.
Despite his lack of Aussie Rules experience, coach Leon Cameron gave him the nod ahead of Jonathan Giles for the round 12 clash.
“I woke up pretty early (on Saturday) morning. Obviously being a late game it was certainly not ideal,” he said.
“I tried to take my mind off it, played a bit of Playstation just not to think about the game as much as possible.
“But once I got out there, the nerves just went away.
“I honestly didn’t leave much in the tank, so hopefully I’ve done enough (to stay in the senior side).
“It’s now up to the coaches whether they want to play me next week.”
Cameron had high praise for his “terrific” young charge, who contributed to an all-round “first-class effort” that helped get the Giants to within a point of the Bombers in the final term.
Although disappointed with an eighth-straight defeat, the coach was confident GWS were heading in the right direction.
They next face Brisbane, with whom they swapped places at the bottom of the AFL ladder after the Lions’ upset win over the Western Bulldogs on Saturday.
“Sometimes you’ve just got to put up with those honourable losses,” Cameron said.
“If you can build your game, if you can build your club from that, it means that when the tide starts to turn, it will turn.”