Attention Hawks fans: Changkuoth Jiath will make his AFL debut this Friday night.
Hawthorn lodged the paperwork this morning to elevate Jiath, a Category B Rookie, to the senior list, officially making him available for Round 21 selection.
Nearing the end of his second season with the Hawks, the 20-year-old is thrilled that his AFL opportunity has finally arrived.
“I’m a bit rattled at the moment,” Jiath said, with a big grin spread across his face.
“I don’t want to think right now, it feels like I’m day dreaming.
“I’m just trying to soak it all in.
“I kind of had a little inkling that I might debut sometime soon, but I wasn’t rushed. I was trying to be patient, and I was willing to take as long as needed to develop my game and confidence.”
Jiath joined the Hawks via the 2017 Rookie Draft after developing through the club’s Next Generation Academy.
After an injury-interrupted start to his 2018 campaign, the promising defender accelerated in the back half of the year, turning heads with his speed and aerial ability.
After finishing 2018 with a VFL premiership, Jiath took his game to another level in 2019, playing a pivotal role in Box Hill’s back six across the course of the season. Even a fractured jaw in Round 12 didn’t slow him down, with the defender making a speedy recovery and returning to the field just three weeks later.
And on Wednesday morning in Alastair Clarkson’s office, he heard the words he was waiting for.
“I was in the locker room… and our physio came in and said Clarko wants to see you, you’re in trouble,” Jiath recalls.
“I’m thinking, I haven’t done anything, surely I’m not in trouble.
“So I was a bit nervous going into his office.
“But as soon as I walked in he goes, ‘congrats mate, you’re making your debut’.
“At that moment, my heart just started beating really fast. It was a great feeling.”
The youngster will make his AFL debut under the Friday night lights of UNSW Canberra Stadium, when the Hawks travel north to face the Giants.
Jiath is not the only Hawk to be celebrating a milestone this week, with Ricky Henderson also set to chalk up his 150th game.