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Gore's happy homecoming

Katrina Gill  February 22, 2016 2:55 PM

Dean Gore Post-Match Interview NAB 1 Channel Crow chats with Dean Gore after playing his first game for the Crows in the NAB Challenge v West Coast at Unley Oval.
It was just good to get back out here, and in the change rooms, and to have a win today

Dean Gore was in new colours but familiar territory at Unley Oval on Sunday.

Recruited from Geelong in last year’s AFL Trade Period, Gore made his Crows debut at the home of his junior club, Sturt. Gore’s parents, sister and a group of mates were on hand to watch the 19-year-old return to his old stomping ground.

Gore’s first goal was given a special mention by the ground announcer, who was quick to point out his upbringing as a Double Blue. The promising onballer said it was a nice feeling to return to Unley.

“I was absolutely stoked when ‘Pykey’ (coach Don Pyke) came up to me during the week and said that I was playing,” Gore said after the game.

“Just to get out there with the boys after a long pre-season, it’s good to get into games and playing at Unley, (the home of) my old team as well. I used to play a fair few games out here and train. I know the oval and how it plays ... it might’ve helped me a little bit.

“It was just good to get back out here, and in the change rooms, and to have a win today was really good.”

Gore was one of several young Crows to impress in Adelaide’s 100-point win over an inexperienced West Coast team. The inside midfielder kicked two goals from 13 possessions. He also took six marks and laid three tackles.

Coach Don Pyke was pleased with Gore’s first hit-out for the Club.

“We’re mindful of the fact that with (reduced) rotations this year, we’re going need flexibility of our guys to be able to play multiple spots,” Pyke said.

“It was pleasing for ‘Gorey’ to not only play midfield, but also press forward and he kicked a couple of nice goals. Midfielders who can hold their own, play forward and hit the scoreboard are always going to be useful.”

Originally drafted by Geelong with pick No.55 in the 2014 National Draft, Gore played one NAB Challenge game for the Cats last year.

He admitted to a few early nerves before adapting to the tempo of AFL football again on Sunday.

“It’s a big step up, obviously, from VFL and SANFL. To get some more exposure to AFL footy is going to be really good for me,” Gore said.

“(It will help me) to keep improving my game and it was awesome to get back out there. I started off a little bit slow, but worked my way into it in patches.

“The quarters went really quick. You went off (the ground) two times and then all of a sudden the quarter was over and then the game was over!”

Gore got on the end of a handball from Eddie Betts to kick his first goal, a long shot on the run late in the opening quarter. His second goal was a quick, reflex snap in the last term.

“Luckily enough, I was in a nice position next to Eddie (for the first goal). I put it on the boot and fortunately it went through,” Gore said.

“The second one … I was just holding out the back and ‘JJ’ (Josh Jenkins) saw me. I just chucked it on the boot and it went through too, which was nice.”

Sunday’s match was reduced to four 20-minute quarters without time-on as part of the AFL’s extreme heat policy.

The Crows also opted to utilise the maximum eight interchange players, as they carefully managed game time across the team of 26. Gore said there was a big focus on hydration and recovery.

“I definitely had the zinc on today!” he said.

“We kept having our slushies at half time and lots of Gatorade. The ball wasn’t too sweaty, which was nice, but it was bloody hot.”

After impressing on debut, Gore is hoping to earn another opportunity when Adelaide travels to Mount Barker in country Western Australia to play Fremantle on Sunday.

The competitive Crow said he had a few focus areas for the pre-season competition and beyond.

“I’ve been throwing myself in that forward role and, in the middle I’ll keep working on my contests,” he said.

“I want to keep improving my game as well as working on the team things.”