There’s a lot of love for Cal Porter at the Western Bulldogs.
That much was evident earlier this week when he was mobbed by team-mates at training after learning he’d make his AFL debut against Gold Coast.
And it was there in the ceremonial debutant drenching of Powerade after the Dogs hung on to claim a thrilling win on Thursday night at Metricon Stadium.
Porter had to wait for his opportunity, breaking through for his first AFL game in his third season at the Club. But it was all worth it.
“It was amazing. I couldn’t have asked for a better first game. I definitely won’ be forgetting it anytime soon,” the 21-year-old said in the rooms after the match.
The lead-in to the game was a whirlwind for Porter. His routine joke-telling exploits turned into an announcement he was to make his debut, and from there it was a challenge to keep his mind focussed on the game itself.
“It was hard to be excited but still remember we had a job to do and we had to play,” he said.
“The phone was blowing up, which was good, but I had to have a balance with that too.
“There was a lot going through my head, but once I ran out it went away. I was excited to be out there and talking it all in, and enjoying playing AFL footy.”
After the win over the Suns, Bulldogs’ coach Luke Beveridge gave an insight into why Porter is held in such high regard at the Club.
“(He’s a) very, very popular character at our football club. He’s such a great person,” he said.
“Really caring, and a terrific team-mate. The 21 who played with him tonight couldn’t wait to take the field with him.
“We’ve got a lot of affection for everyone at our club, but Cal has got under everyone’s skin. He’s just such a terrific young fella.”