One thing you can count on, James Madden will have a Craic.
It will be a celebration for the Irish speedster when he makes his AFL debut for the Lions against Port Adelaide at the Gabba on Saturday.
Having heard the hype around his blistering pace, Lions fans would be hoping to see the jet-heeled Dubliner put on the afterburners and leave an opponent in his wake.
But his coaches and teammates are just as excited about his willingness to crack into the contest.
Madden comes into the side to replace Darcy Gardiner who must miss this week under the AFL’s concussion protocols.
He joins Rhys Mathieson as the two new faces to the side that accounted for Carlton by 18 points at Marvel Stadium in Round 6.
Mathieson replaces Brownlow medalist Lachie Neale who underwent ankle surgery on Monday.
However Senior Coach Chris Fagan said this week that the 24-year-old midfielder had demanded selection with a sustained run of strong form in the reserves, including an 18 possession, four goal masterclass, in just half a game against the Blues last week.
Madden caught the eye of the Lions recruiters when he broke the all-time AFL Draft Combine 20m sprint record at the European Combine in 2017.
The 21-year-old was recruited to the Club in the 2019 rookie draft and began to learn his craft in the NEAFL season where he played 16 games for the side that went through the season undefeated.
Lions head of Development Scott Borlace said Madden’s progression to his first senior game was a testament to his determination a tireless work ethic to improve his fundamental skills and understanding of the game.
“It is a story of perseverance and I’m sure there has been the lure of going home at different times, but he has stuck at it and I’m rapt that he gets the chance to make his debut and I couldn’t be prouder of him,’’ he said.
“He obviously had his speed which is what attracted the club to draft him, but he is also really tough.
“For someone who comes from a sport where there’s not a lot of contact, he relishes the physical stuff and the contest so he will be hard to play against.’’