Former Hampton Rovers player Karl Amon made his AFL debut for Port Adelaide on Saturday. While it wasn’t a winning start, Karl did manage to kick a goal in his first game.
It was the Brisbane Lions who put in their best performance of the year, shocking the Power to claim a 37-point win at the Gabba on Sunday evening. Amon became the 156th man to play for Port Adelaide and his call-up came on the back of good form in the SANFL which led him to being named the club’s player of the week against Norwood in round 4.
Karl joined the Hampton Rovers Football Club in 2011 and played his first senior game for the club in 2012. It was a terrible year on the field with the seniors unable to claim a victory, however this did give the club the opportunity to blood young players, giving them senior VAFA experience which has no doubt contributed to the recent success of the club. That day, Hampton managed just three goals against top side Marcellin at Boss James Reserve and it was Amon who kicked all three of them.
Port Adelaide drafted Karl with pick 68 in the 2013 NAB AFL Draft – the same year fellow Rovers players Christian Salem (pick 9) and Jayden Hunt (pick 57) were also picked up (both by Melbourne). He played throughout most of the 2014 SANFL season, including last year’s Grand Final, and won the best first year player award for Port. A bumper pre-season on the track where he was clearly the Power’s most impressive young player in Dubai, posting personal bests in time trials and mixed it with seasoned players aided his strong start to this season in the SANFL.
It’s been a tough journey for Karl, unable to play footy until he was 10 because he spent two years unable to walk.
“At age five I was diagnosed with Perthes’ disease. It affects the growth in your femur bone, so the head of my femur wasn’t really growing into the socket properly,” Amon told Fox Footy.
Affecting 1 in 4,750 kids, Perthes’ disease occurs when the soft, developing femur doesn’t receive enough blood supply and is then damaged. In Karl’s case, serious action needed to be taken.
“I had five operations on my hip. I had a femoral osteotomy, where they shave the bone, so I was in a wheelchair for a year, on crutches for a year and in and out of hospital from ages five to eight.”
After five surgeries and two years in rehab, Karl was finally ready to join his friends in kicking the footy. From there it was a steady path from junior footy to mixing it with some of the best talent in Victoria.
“I played at East Sandringham for six years, then moved across to Hampton Rovers for one year in under 16s, then Sandringham Dragons came along and I played three seasons there, and got selected for Vic Metro as well.”
It was a promising start to Amon’s AFL career on Sunday. Starting as the sub, he entered the fray in the third term, picking up nine disposals including six kicks and also kicked a goal – something every player dreams of in their first game. He also took four marks and laid two tackles.
He is the second former Hampton Rovers player to make his AFL debut in 2015 with Angus Brayshaw having already played seven games for the Demons in his first year, alongside other Rovers players Chris Dawes and Christian Salem.
The Hampton Rovers Football Club congratulates Karl on his AFL debut and wishes him all the best for the remainder of the season and well beyond.