Young Crow Sam Kerridge learns from role on old Dog.

Sam Kerridge
Spending almost three quarters running with Western Bulldogs star Ryan Griffen on Sunday was invaluable experience for Adelaide’s teenage strong man Sam Kerridge.
While he only managed 57 per cent game time on Sunday, Griffen was kept to 15 touches by the 19-year-old, who collected 14 of his own and kicked a goal.
Kerridge, who played his first AFL game on Sunday since debuting for the Crows in round three last season, was only asked on Saturday to run with the damaging Bulldog.
He said paying such close attention to a player of Griffen’s quality would serve his development well.
“It was good, it was something that allowed me to chase around a very good player for four quarters, or three and a half, just to see how they go about it,” Kerridge said.
“Griffen’s an outstanding player, I had a bit of (Travis) Varcoe back in the NAB Cup; [it’s good] just to see where they run, when they run and how they go about it, the decisions they make.
“[It] was obviously great for my development and something I’ll put in the memory bank.”
Kerridge said the plan to negate Griffen’s influence in Sunday’s game was simple and centered around the teenager’s endurance.
As well as his running power, Kerridge is one of the strongest players on Adelaide’s list, bench-pressing an impressive 130kg over the pre-season.
He said that if needed, he would happily make his side’s run-with duo of skipper Nathan van Berlo and Matthew Wright, a trio.
“I just wanted to back my tank in while I was out there and just chase [Griffen] around for the day,” he said.
“If that’s something I get called upon to do, whatever week it may be, I’m more than happy to do that.
“If that’s my part for getting the four points for the team then so be it.”
Elevated rookie and AFL debutant Rory Laird also played his part in Adelaide’s dominant 52-point win, shutting down a number of the Bulldogs’ small forwards.
Laird had been in sensational touch in the SANFL with West Adelaide and with Sam Shaw placed on the club’s long-term injury list, he got his chance at the elite level.
He laid five tackles but said the speed of the AFL certainly stood out.
“It was quick – a bit of a step up from SANFL level which I’ve been playing at,” Laird said.
“I was a bit nervous, I was a bit excited as well…but once I got out there I forgot about it and just played footy.”
For AFL.com

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