Rookie Adelaide ruckman Reilly O’Brien starred in his AFL debut, but he will be happy to go straight back to the reserves this week to make way for Sam Jacobs.
First-gamer O’Brien was one of the Crows’ best in their 138-point annihilation of Brisbane on Saturday night but he will be out of the side for Sunday’s trip to Fremantle if Jacobs (ankle) can prove his fitness.
If not, the giant spectre of Aaron Sandilands awaits.
“I loved playing out there … but when Sauce comes back, I’m happy to go back to the SANFL and be the back-up,” O’Brien told reporters on Monday.
“He’s doing his rehab and recovery. Hopefully he is (right) but we’ll see if he is and if not, I’m ready to go.
“That’s what you play footy for, to play against the best, and (Sandilands) has obviously been one of the best in the competition for years now.”
O’Brien grabbed a goal, 16 touches and 29 hit-outs as Adelaide further staked their claim for a top-four spot with the big win over the Lions – the first match Jacobs had missed in four years.
The 20-year-old Victorian said he owed a lot to Jacobs and ruck coach Matthew Clarke for making him the player he is today.
Selected with Adelaide’s first pick in the 2015 rookie draft, O’Brien was a key defender before he arrived at West Lakes, but is now considered one of the SANFL’s leading ruckman and the long-term successor to Jacobs.
“I wasn’t really a ruckman before I came here,” he said.
“I learned pretty much my whole ruck craft from Matty Clarke and Sauce.
“We’ve got a great little ruck group at the club, I’ve learned heaps and I continue to learn even more.”