Sun Schade happy with his growing body of work
In just his third AFL game, Henry Schade found himself the pillar of the Gold Coast defence.
And with the Suns playing a rejuvenated West Coast in round seven, that meant he was pitted against Eagles sharpshooter Josh Kennedy.
"He's obviously a great player," Schade said of the man who leads the race for the Coleman Medal with an unassailable 70 goals.
"Normally when you come up against an opponent, you try and suss out their weaknesses and play to your strengths. But I don't know what his weakness is."
Schade held his own though, keeping Kennedy to four goals, but it was certainly a baptism by fire with regular key defenders Rory Thompson and Steven May both injured.
The 21-year-old was at least thankful to finally get an opportunity at the top level after being drafted from North Hobart in 2011.
Debuting two weeks earlier in the QClash, he has gone on to play 13 games, and, while his manager is sorting out a new contract with the Suns, he looks a mainstay of the defence.
"Coming out of contract, I knew at the start of the year it was going to be a big year one way or the other," he told APN.
"I knew it was crunch time.
"It's good to be in the position I'm in at the moment, I'm certainly happy on an individual level, but I've still got long way to go."
Arriving at the club weighing 79kg, the athletic Schade has worked hard to try and add bulk to his 196cm frame.
"Especially in my first year they said we need to put some size on you," he said. "So I had a strong focus in the gym.
"Still now I'm trying to put on weight.
"It's definitely just a time thing, I've just got to be patient with my body," he said.
"I put on a bit of weight at the start of last year, and put it on a bit too quickly and so had a bit of back trouble."
With a fired-up Port Adelaide being hosted by the Suns tonight, Schade could get the job on either Paddy Ryder, Justin Westhoff or John Butcher.
It will be another big job but he's keen to help the 16th-placed Suns claim a fifth win after overcoming Essendon last week.
"We just want to be able to finish off the year on a good note," he said.
"Get some momentum going into next year."