FIRST-ROUND draft selection Sam De Koning has given a glimpse of his sky-high football potential with a four-goal bag in a scratch match against the Tigers.
Last year’s pick number 19 moved forward for the first time this season after impressive performances in the ruck and defence in previous scratch matches.
A second-term purple patch including two marks on the lead followed by a soaring pack mark in the space of five minutes turned heads, with some wayward goalkicking robbing the two-metre tall utility of even more goals.
De Koning put the Tigers’ defence under pressure in the third term, earning back-to-back free kicks for goals.
Cats ruckman Darcy Fort enjoyed the show.
“I was loving it – he’s a super talented kid,” Fort said.
“It was really good to see him break out today and I was just sitting back and watching it a couple times on some of those marks, it was good.”
Fort kicked two goals of his own in his second match back from bone stress in his foot.
The return gives the Cats another option in the ruck after Rhys Stanley missed his second consecutive match against the Tigers with a groin complaint.
“It’s always good to go forward and kick a couple goals but it felt good to get back into my craft and smash a couple of bodies,” Fort said.
“It was important to get my body right first and some match fitness in my legs and just play the best footy I can.
“Now I’ll just see what happens and hopefully the boys can have a long run in September and if I can be a part of that, great, if not I’m more than happy to be along for the ride.”
Lively small forward Jake Tarca impressed again as he spent time further up the ground as well as kicking a classy goal around his body on the run.
“Tarcs has come a long way. Last year I probably gave him a hard time at times when I didn’t think he was playing his role,” Fort said.
“This year I’ve been amazed at how much he’s improved and really embraced that team attitude and to see the way he’s playing has really impressed me and I can’t give him enough credit.”
Jordan Clark played in defence for the second consecutive week, providing plenty of dash while Oscar Brownless continued his knack of finding the scoreboard in recent weeks, kicking another goal from the wing.
Charlie Constable was clean through the midfield.
“He’s super reliable Chook, I really enjoy working with him and you know when he’s got the ball he’s going to get it out and to advantage,” Fort said.
Josh Jenkins provided a valuable link between the midfield and forward, matched up against the experienced Tiger David Astbury.
“JJ is super, just a real calm and composed head. He always gives a great contest and I think he’s great for those forwards like DK (Sam De Koning),” Fort said.
“He set the boys up and gave us a good look going forward.”
Carlton provided top-up players for both sides to enable a full match to be played, with both Richmond and Geelong owning passages of play.
The Tigers ran out eventual victors by a slender margin.