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At 27 years of age Brett Eddy must have thought his AFL dream was over before Port Adelaide called out his name in the 2016 November rookie draft. The South Adelaide key forward has finally been rewarded with an AFL opportunity after another outstanding SANFL season in which Eddy won the Ken Farmer Medal as the leading SANFL goal kicker.
It is no secret at AFL level that Port Adelaide needs a key forward. Last year Port Adelaide averaged 13.6 goals per match which has them ranked 7th in the league. In the second half of last season Port Adelaide scored over 100 points on only two occasions. Brett Eddy averaged 3.7 goals per match in 2016 at SANFL level with the goal kicker showing his class at SANFL level. The dynamic forward has been a quality contributor for the Panthers since his arrival in 2013.
The Power will welcome Paddy Ryder back to the fold who may be called upon to spend time up forward this year and with an eye for the future Port used their first pick at last year’s National Draft to secure Todd Marshall. He will be some way away however from having a frame ready for the rigours of AFL football. With Justin Westhoff often playing in positions all over the ground perhaps an opportunity will exist for a more stay at home forward. Could that be Brett Eddy?
John Butcher was delisted at seasons end and for the first time in a long time Port Adelaide will not have Jay Schulz at on the books with the veteran not offered a contract for 2017. In 2016 Chad Wingard was the leading goal kicker for Port with only 38 goals while Charlie Dixon in his first year at Alberton kicked 30 goals from his 18 games. Ken Hinkley will be hoping for much more of a scoreboard impact from the Gold Coast recruit this season.
While there is often not a huge expectation placed on a rookie listed player do not be surprised to see Brett Eddy make an impact at AFL level in 2017. All things being equal he will get opportunities in pre-season to impress and a chance to push his case for AFL selection when the season proper begins. Here is hoping reward for perseverance pays off for the veteran rookie.