Son of Magpie great makes winning debut - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Son of Magpie great makes winning debut

By Laine Clark 18/04/2009 08:25:03 AM Comments (0)

No one could question the pedigree.

But there was a time when Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse certainly questioned Jaxson Barham's dedication.

The son of former Magpie great Ricky Barham had always been tipped to have a bright future - but most thought it would be as a surfer.

Malthouse was probably one of them.

However, Malthouse was sure happy that Barham had followed in his dad's footsteps following Collingwood's 17-point AFL win over fierce rivals Brisbane Lions at the Gabba on Friday night.

After the 20-year-old more than held his own against Lions vice-captain Luke Power, the usually reserved Malthouse rated Barham's AFL debut as "terrific".

"Quite frankly I watched Jaxson play a couple of times and there were areas where I was worried about whether it was football or (surfing that he preferred)," Malthouse said.

"His previous five or six years or probably longer he was into surfing.

"But he really has dedicated himself to being a footballer.

"He was terrific, wasn't he."

It wasn't just Barham's former preference to the surf over the Sherrin that made the youngster's path to the AFL unorthodox.

"It's an unusual entry into AFL football," Malthouse said of Barham.

"He came in as a top age (overage player) Geelong Falcon (in the TAC Cup).

"He played at Lorne (Victoria) which is not necessarily the way that you see players come into an AFL squad these days.

"So full credit to the recruiting staff."

Barham - recruited by the Pies under the father-son rule in 2007 - matched Power with 28 disposals as well as a game-high nine tackles to help Collingwood fight back from a 22-point deficit in the second term.

"I don't think it is an accident that he played like he did," Malthouse said.

"Because he has really dedicated himself to listen and understand the game.

"As much as he shared the ball with Luke Power I thought that given it was his first game he was excellent.

"He did something (on Friday night) which I suppose when we first recruited him we would never have had in mind."

Ricky Barham played 151 games at Collingwood between 1977 and 1986.

It was high praise indeed for Barham from Malthouse.

The old school coach singled out few others for a respectful nod on Friday night, with only four goal hero Paul Medhurst also receiving kudos.

"Paul has got the capacity to play in a manner that if the opponent is not right he will chop them up," he said after Medhurst outmuscled Jason Roe.

Malthouse even baulked at giving Dale Thomas a rap despite shutting down Josh Drummond, leaning more towards praising the "team effort".

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