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Long-awaited debut

Mitch Hinge’s persistence and drive has paid off, with the half back to make his long-awaited debut for the Lions this weekend after three years on the rookie list.

The 20-year-old has played in the Club’s NEAFL team since his arrival in late 2016 and was “speechless” upon hearing he would play his first senior game this weekend.

Senior Coach Chris Fagan announced his selection in front of Hinge’s delighted teammates earlier today.

“This is on the back of great form in the pre-season, all of the way through. You’ve just been playing well week in, week out and you’ve kept knocking on the door,” Fagan said.

“You’ve kept knocking on my door too which I love. You come in and talk about your footy all the time and find out ways you can improve.

“This is your third year, so it’s taken you ‘til halfway through your third year to break in and that’s a great story.

“You deserve your chance.”

Hinge grew up in Mundulla, a country town in South Australia and went on to board in Adelaide at Sacred Heart College, where he played under 18s football for Glenelg.

The Lions selected him with Pick No. 20 at the 2016 AFL Rookie Draft.

Since his arrival Hinge has played an important part in the NEAFL’s undefeated side this year. He is competitive beast and always has a will to win the ball. He is also respected for his accurate left boot and is composed with his ball use.

Hinge publicly thanked his teammates upon learning his selection.

“Thanks to everyone who’s been part of the journey,” he said.

“I’m a bit speechless but really keen to get out there and do my part to help the boys get the win.”

Joining Hinge in the team this week is defender Josh Walker and midfielder Rhys Mathieson.

Walker was recalled to the team this week after missing out on selection in Round 8’s loss to the Western Bulldogs.

Saturday afternoon marks Mathieson’s return to senior level since injury his hamstring in Round 5’s loss to Collingwood. The past two weeks he has played reserve grade with the Club’s undefeated NEAFL side.

Tom Cutler and Ryan Lester have been omitted, while Zac Bailey sits out due to a hamstring injury.

IN: Mitch Hinge, Josh Walker, Rhys Mathieson

OUT: Zac Bailey (Injured), Tom Cutler (Omitted), Ryan Lester (Omitted)

Milestone: Mitch Hinge (1st AFL Game)

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs