Fremantle Dockers defender Hayden Young reflects mark-of-the-year contender against Port Adelaide

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Jordan McArdleThe West Australian
VideoHayden Young reels in incredible mark against Port Adelaide at Optus Stadium.

Fremantle defender Hayden Young admits he was surprised by his stunning soar against Port Adelaide at Optus Stadium and modestly claimed he “just got lucky”.

While he hadn’t seen a replay of his mark-of-the-year contender late in the first half, when he rode on Lachie Jones’ shoulders before getting some serious airtime, Young said it “felt pretty good”.

The 21-year-old, known more for his lethal left boot and defensive efforts than his high-flying marks, can’t recall ever taking a grab like that throughout his career.

“I was a bit surprised that I got the lift-off,” Young said.

“I was happy that it stuck. I was a bit slow to get up but I was just happy to win the ball back.

“It all happened pretty fast. I haven’t seen it yet but it felt pretty good.

“I’m not known for taking big marks but I just got lucky I guess.”

Hayden Young rises for a spectacular mark. Picture: Tom Fee / Fremantle FC
Camera IconHayden Young took a mark of the year contender. Credit: Tom Fee / Fremantle FC/Tom Fee / Fremantle FC

Remarkably, Young may not even earn a nomination for mark of the week after WA-raised Power forward Mitch Georgiades used opponent Brennan Cox as a step ladder just before three-quarter time.

Young had “front-row seats” for the Georgiades stunner and conceded it would be tough to beat.

It was the Subiaco and Hale School product’s second massive mark in as many years after taking one on Melbourne premiership captain Max Gawn’s shoulders last season.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JULY 03: Mitch Georgiades of the Power flies for a mark during the 2022 AFL Round 16 match between the Fremantle Dockers and the Port Adelaide Power at Optus Stadium on July 03, 2022 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
Camera IconWest Australian product Mitch Georgiades pulled down this incredible hanger. Credit: Daniel Carson/AFL Photos/AFL Photos via Getty Images

“I had front-row seats, he got some serious height, ” Young said.

“It was pretty special. He’s a good player.”

Marks weren’t the only highlights in a see-sawing thriller between the port clubs with Dockers young gun Caleb Serong and hulking Port tall Charlie Dixon both threading through brilliant goals from the boundary.

Young’s game will be remembered for the mark but he also produced several important defensive moments including a late spoil and a courageous intercept mark going back with the flight in the third.

He said it was “special” to win for a couple of his defensive teammates’ milestones with Nathan Wilson chalking up 150 games and Luke Ryan 100.

“It was a pretty special day for them,” Young said.

“Lukey and Willow are both really valuable players in our backline and I think we all lifted for them.

“Willow had a great few moments in that last quarter.”

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JULY 03: Brennan Cox and Hayden Young of the Dockers sings the team song after the win during the 2022 AFL Round 16 match between the Fremantle Dockers and the Port Adelaide Power at Optus Stadium on July 03, 2022 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
Camera IconHayden Young starred for Fremantle as they held off Port Adelaide. Credit: Daniel Carson/AFL Photos/AFL Photos via Getty Images

The top-10 draft pick has already beat his most season appearances with 13 after being hampered by foot and hamstring injuries across his first two seasons at the club, taking his tally to 26.

“I’m feeling a lot better physically with my body and starting to find that continuity and I’m building confidence,” Young said.

“I’m starting to feel at home out there and I’m hoping to just keep it going really and keep improving on my game.”

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