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Long time coming

Joel Hamling postgame interview BulldogsTV speaks with Joel Hamling in the rooms after the side's win against GWS at Etihad Stadium.
Joel Hamling of the Bulldogs in action during the 2015 NAB Challenge Week 3 match between the Western Bulldogs and the Melbourne Demons at Eureka Stadium, Ballarat on March 14, 2015. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Joel Hamling collected 18 disposals in his AFL debut.

They’re the kind of stats that a seasoned defender would rack up, but Joel Hamling’s numbers from the weekend were those of a mature-aged debutant.

After almost three and a half years in the AFL system, Hamling played his first senior game on Saturday against the Giants, and put in an impressive display from the back half.

The 22-year-old collected 18 disposals at 87.5 per cent efficiency, seven marks and five one-percenters.

“It was a long time coming but the win is definitely the best thing,” said Hamling, speaking with BulldogsTV post-match.

“It was good to get out there and get the first win out of the way.”

Although collecting big numbers for a first-gamer, Hamling was content to play down the stats.

“Getting a touch early is definitely a good thing… (but) if I stick to my role and do my KPIs, that gets me into the game.

“I probably just had to play the way I’d been playing the last six months or so, and back myself and go from there.”

Teammate Matthew Boyd said Hamling’s ability to step into a key defensive role in only his first game was a big bonus for the Dogs.

“I thought he was fantastic… He just seemed really comfortable down there.

“Some of the stuff he did to support us in the air, I think he had the first two spoils in the game which got him in the game and got his confidence up so that was really good.”