Alex Keath could not have played his first game of AFL football at a more daunting time.
The Kialla-product and former Victorian cricketer made his debut for Adelaide in a Friday night spectacular against Geelong last month.
A last gasp draw against Collingwood followed as Mitch McGovern marked and goalled after the siren to level the scores.
Keath took to Adelaide Oval for his first Showdown on Sunday and was solid in the backline in front of more than 45000 people.
‘‘It was amazing, the home support was incredible and we didn’t give them a sniff, which was great,’’ Keath said.
‘‘I couldn’t have timed it (my debut) any better, I’m very lucky to come in for three such big games.
‘‘I just want to keep doing my job each week, no frills, just play my role and hopefully stay in the side.’’
Keath, 25, is well settled in South Australia after signing with the Adelaide Strikers in the Big Bash League in December 2015, although he did not play a game.
Turning his focus back to football after previously being drafted to the Gold Coast Suns in 2009, family and friends flew across the border to watch the tall defender’s first game, before travelling to Melbourne for the drawn match.
‘‘It’s been more than a couple of years now (in Adelaide), I really like it over here and it was great to have some friends from Shepp come over for my first game,’’ Keath said.
He attended Kialla Primary School, then Goulburn Valley Grammar before finishing his schooling at Melbourne Grammar.
He played school footy for Wanganui, but said he did not get back to town often.
‘‘It was a beautiful little spot there (in Kialla), but I don’t get home too often unfortunately,’’ Keath said.
But he would like to return to Deakin Reserve and watch former Hawthorn and Adelaide ruckman Luke Lowden in action.
‘‘My good mate Luke Lowden is back playing with United this year, so it’d be nice to get up and watch him play if I can,’’ he said.
Having completed two full pre-seasons after Adelaide took him as a category B rookie, he has quickly become a well-liked member of the Crows.
The past two years have had him complete a rare pre-season having tried to avoid them when he had a Cricket Victoria contract.
‘‘When I was playing cricket, I tried to escape the pre-season training by going over to England and playing some club cricket,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s definitely a bit more intense the footy pre-season, but in saying that both sports are very professional.’’
But after choosing to focus on football, cricket has left Keath with many priceless memories.
As a teenager Keath was captaining a representative team in England when the game was stopped to introduce the side to Queen Elizabeth, who was a surprise guest.
Keath said the developer of the Crusaders Cricket Australia program, Robert ‘‘Swan’’ Richards, had connections with the royal family, which led to the monarch making an appearance.
‘‘It was incredible, no-one knew it was happening,’’ Keath said.
‘‘A very special man Swan Richards developed the Crusaders and he’s got a close relationship with the Queen.
‘‘He’s a great character and I was lucky enough that day, she came down to visit and watch a bit of the game.’’
But summers will no longer belong to cricket for Keath as he hopes to play a vital role in Adelaide’s quest for a premiership before lining up for another gruelling pre-season.