If I told people at the start of the year that Aaron Young would be the second highest goal kicker for Port Adelaide after 9 rounds I don’t expect many would have taken me seriously. In fact people would probably be making a phone call and summoning for the men in white coats to take me away and have my mental sanity examined.
But Aaron Young is the surprise packet in the Port Adelaide team with a return of 19 goals in 8 matches. Out of contract at season’s end the signing of Young now needs to be a matter of priority for Port Adelaide.
In 2014 Young signed a contract extension tying him to Alberton until the end of the 2016 season and Young is now playing the best football of his career. Previously Young has been unable to really solidify his spot at AFL level playing 42 games in four seasons since being drafted. Much of this time in a midfield role. Young has often been the victim playing the sub role limiting his opportunities for game time. Thankfully for Young this role no longer exists in season 2016.
Many pundits thought 2015 would be the year Aaron Young would establish himself as an AFL regular. Unfortunately mixed form and again more sub appearances saw Young only play 11 games for the season.
Young had a career best game in the round 4 clash against Hawthorn picking up 25 touches and kicking a goal. But what was hoped would be a breakout game leading to a more permanent role in the side never eventuated in 2015. As a result there was discussion that Young would seek opportunities elsewhere during the trade period. In the end Young remained at Alberton.
When the 2016 season started Young found himself in the SANFL. Injury to Hamish Hartlett saw Young receive a late call up for Port Adelaide in the round 2 match against Adelaide. Young kicked 4 goals and was one of the few shining lights for Port Adelaide in the game. Young declared after the game he wanted this to be the year he could prove he belongs at AFL level. “It was unlucky for Hamish who hurt himself. As a personal goal I’d like to establish myself in the team and today was a good step towards that.”
Young has certainly found his niche in the forward line and taken his opportunity. Young celebrated his 50th game against West Coast last Saturday with a career high 4 goals. At 23 years of age Young has his best football ahead of him. Port Adelaide will be hoping his best football will continue to be in Port colours.