If the AFL world wasn't familiar with Jack Henry’s name, they are now, after the high-flying defender marked and goaled to secure the points on Saturday in front of a record 59,335 fans at the MCG
Henry, runner up in last year’s Carji Medal, was back in the side for the first time since Round 5 after recovering from a foot injury, and as one of Geelong’s best defenders, he’d spent the week expecting to play down back.
But that changed about half an hour out from the game when Gary Rohan had reported feeling ill, and Henry was shuffled up the ground to plug a spot in front of goal.
And fill the spot he did.
The Cats had shot out to a big lead early before Richmond clawed their way back within minutes of victory before Geelong shifted gears, took some risk, and the ball, with a minute to play was sailing Henry’s way.
With Nick Vlaustin, one of the game’s premier defenders by his side, the athletic defender-cum-forward would launch twist and mark, and with all 94kg of Jeremy Cameron running with the flight no doubt filling his peripheral vision.
It was no regulation grab.
“I had a pretty good look for the run and jump at it, so you've got to go for it,” he told K rock Football after the game.
“It was very instinctive. The other part wasn't as instinctive so pretty much tried to hit the foot and got it through.”
Without Tom Atkins’ clearance, and Tyson Stengle’s burst, gather and centering of the footy, the ball wouldn’t have fell Henry’s way, but it did, and the 23-year-old did the rest.
And he did it while down to his last couple of petrol tickets.
“I copped a pretty big corky early, so I was sort of hobbling a little bit,” he said.
“[But] after half time you're always a bit stiff so I just tried to run out and have a crack and I think when the intensity does lift you kind of get up and going and you don't think too much about how your body is feeling.”