Kayle Kirby to make long-awaited debut

Kayle Kirby will make his AFL debut tomorrow. Photo: Shane Barrie

Kayle Kirby will make his AFL debut tomorrow. Photo: Shane Barrie

TYNTYNDER junior Kayle Kirby will make his AFL debut tomorrow against Melbourne at the MCG.

Kirby, 18, was originally named as an emergency for Collingwood's final game of the home and away season, but has been brought into the squad as a late inclusion for Ben Reid.

Kirby has quickly become a fan favourite at the Pies with the electric small forward currently tied atop the VFL goalkicking with 42 goals in 16 games.

He was taken at pick 50 in last year's draft and has impressed in his first year at the Holden Centre, earning comparisons to Norm Smith Medal winner Byron Pickett.

He even has his hashtag with #KickItToTheKirb featuring heavily on social media throughout Collingwood's VFL matches this season.

Senior coach Nathan Buckley suggested at a press conference yesterday that Kirby would finish the season in the VFL which appeared to be confirmed when the teams dropped on Thursday night.

However, Kirby was brought into the squad on Friday morning to replace Ben Reid who has withdrawn from the game with general soreness.

Kirby will now become Collingwood's third debutant of the season in front of an anticipated crowd in excess of 50,000 at the MCG.

“Kayle arrived at Collingwood as a player with a lot of pure talent,” Collingwood general manager of football Geoff Walsh told Collingwood media.

“To his credit, he has since worked tremendously hard to embrace the demands of the professional game and his form in the VFL, where he shares leading goal kicking honours, has been strong, consistent and often exciting.

“Tomorrow will be reward for a lot of hard work from Kayle, his coaches and the high performance team who have helped to prepare him for this moment.”

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