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Aussie Rules

Noble's AFL debut marks massive change

John Noble's last SANFL game was in front of about 2000 fans on May 17, when he had 16 disposals in West Adelaide's loss to Sturt.

That's about as many spectators as Collingwood attracted to their Wednesday training session.

On Friday night, the 22-year-old speedster will make his AFL debut in front of a capacity crowd at Perth's Optus Stadium.

It is some change.

"I actually haven't told you - you realise it's Optus Stadium and it's a grand final rematch?," coach Nathan Buckley joked to Noble at Wednesday's media conference.

"In the end, it's round 17 and it's the opportunity for a young guy to come in and fulfil his dream.

"From a team sense, we see an opportunity where John's strengths are actually what we're asking for at the moment."

But Buckley has no doubt that Noble will be ready for the bright lights of Friday night's blockbuster.

"I suppose the occasion is not necessarily something that comes into the mix," Buckley said.

"Actually if we thought he couldn't handle it, that he wasn't ready, then we wouldn't have picked him.

"The occasion itself is big for us all - it's big for the Eagles as well.

"But it's a stage that we have no doubt that's he ready for."

Noble is an identical twin and health problems he had as a youngster meant it took longer for him to develop.

Clearly, those challenges also gave him perspective and made him tough.

"I always knew I had the ability and talent ... my path was always going to be different," he said.

"I'm a bit older, 22.

"It's grinding, keep pursuing that dream, and eventually it will come true."

But for all his persistence, there has been a major challenge with the move from Adelaide.

"I don't like the weather - the weather's cold," he said.

--End of article--

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