Whatever becomes of Steven May’s football career, he will fondly remember his first AFL match on the MCG.
The key position player was Gold Coast’s best player on Sunday in the 64-point loss to Hawthorn, taking 12 marks and kicking three goals.
They were also May’s first goals at this level.
Coach Guy McKenna said they had tried May in attack before, but to no effect.
As McKenna noted, on Sunday the planets aligned for the 20-year-old.
May dominated from the start, to the point that Hawthorn had to move Ryan Schoenmakers back into defence after halftime.
Like May, Schoenmakers was moved from defence into attack for this game and was doing well, kicking two goals in the first half.
But May’s form caused Hawthorn genuine concern.
“We were really impressed with the way that May played up forward,” said Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson.
McKenna said May had impressed in the pre-season with a defensive game on Brisbane captain Jonathan Brown.
A shoulder injury then interrupted May’s preparations and Sunday was only his sixth game this season.
“I just wanted to take the opportunity – I had fun,” May said.
“I suppose playing down back, you learn what you don’t want the forwards to do and that helped me today.”
McKenna told May on Wednesday that he would go up forward and was rapt with the youngster’s performance.
“Clearly Maysie, through a lack of fitness, has struggled a bit down back because there’s a lot of ball going down there,” McKenna said.
“This game … it was played on his terms and he took full toll, which was credit to him.”