K rock Football

Tiger teen’s senior moment

Lachie Hood became the youngest player in GFL history in Grovedale’s loss to Geelong West last week. (krockfootball.com.au/Al Packer)

WHEN Lachie Hood’s phone rang last Saturday morning the last thing he was expecting was Grovedale coach Craig McCaughan on the other end of the line telling him he would be making his senior debut that evening.

Less than eight hours later he was creating history by becoming the youngest player in GFL history when he ran on to West Oval for the Tigers’ clash with Geelong West.

“I found at 10 o’clock the morning of the game,” Hood said. “I was really excited, but really surprised as well.

“I didn’t expect it at all, I didn’t have a clue at all.

“I was very excited.”

At 15 years and 161 days, Hood is 94 days younger than local great Ricky O’Toole who was 15 years and 255 days when he debuted for St Joseph’s against Geelong West-St Peter’s in Round 2 of the 1993 season.

Making Hood’s feat even more impressive is the fact he hasn’t played at Colts level.

“I was hoping to play a game of 18s (Colts) at the start of the year, and even the thought of that was frightening to me,” the Grovedale College student, who will get another chance today against Newtown & Chilwell, said.

“But then finding out I was playing seniors, I didn’t have much time to think about it, though.

“I just got out and played. It was a huge difference.”

Hood, who represented Victoria at the School Sports Australia 15 and under chammpionships in Western Australia last month, not surprisingly was struck by the physical nature and pressure of GFL senior football.

“The pressure was just insane compared to all the other levels I’ve played at,” he said.

“Bigger bodies and better players.”

Despite his youth, McCaughan was confident Hood wouldn’t be out of his depth after he was forced to find a replacement for Billy Jones, who was late call-up to VFL club North Ballarat.

“We went through (and considered) a couple of guys in the reserves and a couple of the Colts kids that were already preparing to play,” McCaughan said

“I spoke to (Lachie’s mum) Donna on Thursday night to say I’d love to get Lach a game in the near future.

“That happened a bit quicker than Donna and I anticipated.

“I spoke to Donna Saturday morning, five minutes before Lach. I just wanted the approval of Mum because he’s so young.”

Hood finished with 14 possessions and took four marks, and McCaughan believes he didn’t look out of place.

“It takes any debutant a little while just to get the feel and the feel of what’s happening,” he said.

“But, for him, you couldn’t tell he was a 15-year-old running out with men.

“You could tell that he could play the game, and, particularly in the second to fourth quarters, he used the footy well, (his) pressure around the footy was great, and brought that small forward pressure that we’ve been crying out for, and Lach played that really well.”

Twitter: @tom_king79


15 yrs 161 days – Lachie Hood (Grovedale): Round 15, 2017 vs. Geelong West Giants @ West Oval
15 yrs 173 days – Sam O’Dwyer (Newtown & Chilwell): Round 12, 1998 vs. Leopold @ Elderslie Reserve
15 yrs 255 days – Ricky O’Toole (St Joseph’s): Round 2, 1993 vs. Geelong West-St Peter’s @ Drew Oval
15 yrs 257 days – Billy Nicholls (North Shore): Preliminary Final, 1996 vs. Geelong West-St Peter’s @ West Oval
15 yrs 310 days – Tom Harriott (Newtown & Chilwell): Round 4, 1994 vs. St Albans @ St Albans Reserve
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