Knights hails Irishman's debut - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Knights hails Irishman's debut

06/04/2009 09:31:01 AM Comments (0)

Essendon teenager Michael Quinn has taken so well to the AFL that the only thing holding him back was his nationality.

Bombers coach Matthew Knights hailed Quinn's debut, in the round-two defeat of Fremantle at Etihad Stadium, as "superb" given the Irishman has been living in Australia for only four months.

Although there were times when Quinn looked every bit the new boy, he collected 20 disposals as a running defender and gave off a handball to set up a goal for Henry Slattery in the third term.

The Bombers drafted the 19-year-old former Gaelic footballer from County Longford as a rookie last year, but the Dons' injuries over the pre-season earned him a promotion to the senior list.

Last week the Bombers' match committee found it could no longer ignore Quinn given the major strides he has taken.

"We sat down at match committee and we said 'If Michael wasn't from Ireland would we pick him?'," Knights said.

"We had to stop using that as an out not to pick him.

"He was the next one in line to come in due to his form in the VFL, so we picked him."

Quinn is the latest of a handful of Irishman to have made a successful transition to Australian rules, most notably after former Melbourne Brownlow medallist Jim Stynes, ex-Sydney star Tadhg Kennelly and Collingwood's Marty Clarke.

Knights said Quinn had improved through his "amazing" listening at training, although he admitted there were some hair-raising moments when his recruit looked like giving the ball up or being run down.

"It was put the seatbelt on and look away, but I enjoyed his enthusiasm and he certainly brought the crowd to life at times," he said.

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