PORT Adelaide rookie Brett Eddy has surely guaranteed himself an AFL debut at the age of 27, booting five goals in the Power's JLT Community Series victory over Hawthorn on Sunday.
At the ground where he dominated in the SANFL for South Adelaide, Eddy put on a master class in front of the Hickinbotham Oval faithful to get himself on the plane to face Sydney at the SCG on March 25.
Eddy kicked four goals in the space of 10 minutes in the third term, and his fifth to seal the game, as the Power knocked off the Hawks 0.14.12 (96) to 1.8.11 (68).
"We reward form normally, so I'll be surprised if he's not a 27-year-old debutant," Power coach Ken Hinkley said.
"He's probably deserved it before this, but you get reluctant because of age.
"You look at the level under you and he's kicked 70 or 80 goals consistently, and you go, why not?
"We were looking for a replacement for Jay Schulz and someone who had a bit of experience who could help other forwards play the game naturally."
It was the Power's first win of the pre-season and a vastly improved performance on their lacklustre efforts in losses to St Kilda and Richmond.
Ruckman Paddy Ryder had a terrific game as he continues to improve in his return from serving a 12-month anti-doping suspension.
Big-bodied midfielder Sam Powell-Pepper confirmed his spot in the Power's on-ball brigade, while defender Riley Bonner pressed his claims to take on the Swans.
Sydney recruit Tom Mitchell picked up 29 possessions for the Hawks, Jaeger O'Meara had 27 and Ricky Henderson had 21 in his first game since coming across from Adelaide.
After being eased in through the first two games, O'Meara had his minutes ramped up to ensure he's right to go when premiership points are up for grabs.
"His time was managed from JLT one to now, so he got a full game out today, he's got better and better each week and the synergy within our midfield will hopefully get better as time goes on as well," Hawks assistant coach Adam Yze said.
"Him and Tom Mitchell learning our way and the way we play has been good and they've got better and better each week.
"Henderson and (Ty) Vickery are starting to gel with our group as well."
Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson watched the game from the grandstand as Yze looked after the side this week.
The Power were the better side in general play in the first half, but it wasn't reflected on the scoreboard as the Hawks held a 10-point lead at the main change.
It was all the Power in the third quarter as they booted seven unanswered goals to take a stranglehold on the contest.
The game looked as good as over when the Hawks trailed by 33 points at the 28-minute mark of the third term.
But the Hawks displayed their trademark fighting spirit to reduce the margin to 14 points late in the final term.
Eddy's fifth goal at the 25-minute mark sealed the Power's first victory of the year.
PORT ADELAIDE 0.3.0 0.4.5 0.11.8 0.14.12 (96)
HAWTHORN 0.1.4 1.4.6 1.4.9 1.8.11 (68)
Port Adelaide: None
Port Adelaide: Eddy 5, Young 2, S Gray, Impey, Powell-Pepper, Wines, Neade, Ryder, Amon
Hawthorn: Rioli 2, Sicily, Stewart, Langford, Vickery
Port Adelaide: Ryder, Eddy, Byrne-Jones, Wines, Ebert, Young
Hawthorn: Langford, Mitchell, O'Meara, Henderson, Stewart, Frawley
Port Adelaide: Robbie Gray (general soreness) replaced in the selected side by Brett Eddy.
Umpires: Hausen, Foot, Jefferies
Official crowd: 5628 at Hickinbotham Oval
WHAT WE LEARNED
Port Adelaide: Rookie-listed forward Brett Eddy and midfield bull Sam Powell-Pepper are locks to make their AFL debuts in the round one clash with grand finalists Sydney at the SCG. Eddy, 27, turned on a third-quarter master class to blow the game open, booting four goals in the space of 10 minutes. Powell-Pepper had his best game, picking up 23 possessions and not being afraid to throw his body into the contest.
Hawthorn: James Sicily has been tried in the backline during the pre-season, but he made an instant impact when pushed into attack. Sicily kicked two goals within five minutes to show that is where he can be of the most use the Hawks.
Port Adelaide: Imposing first-year player Sam Powell-Pepper is a certain starter for round one. He ran strongly down the wing in a passage of play and was rewarded with a goal, then in the second term, crashed through a tackle and gave off a hand-pass to Ollie Wines for a six-pointer. Riley Bonner continues to impress across half-back, while Dan Houston also made some nice contributions in defence. Midfielder Joe Atley keeps putting his head over the footy and not shying away from the tough stuff.
Hawthorn: Ricky Henderson showed he will be a handy recruit for the Hawks with a stand-out game in the first-hit for his new club. The former Crow was busy across half-back and also pushed forward, kicking a supergoal. Tom Mitchell got his hands on plenty of ball through the midfield, while Jaegar O'Meara improved as the game went on after a slow first quarter.
The Power face the ominous task of taking on grand finalists Sydney at the SCG on Saturday, March 25 at 4.35pm AEDT. Meanwhile, the Hawks will turn their attention to a round one clash with a revamped Essendon at the MCG on Saturday, March 25, 7.25pm AEDT.