MITCH GEORGIADES had been thinking about extending his time with Port Adelaide since soon after arriving at Alberton.
It was a surprise to many when the 19-year-old was claimed by Port with pick 18 at the 2019 National Draft, having missed more than a year of football with a leg injury.
But he quickly impressed anyone who watched him with his high-leaping, willingness to attack a contest and running capacity, and he made his AFL debut in Port’s win over Gold Coast in Round 1.
After seven games in his debut year, Georgiades followed his gut and agreed to terms on a contract extension tying him to the club until the end of 2023.
He said it’s more special knowing fellow 2019 draftees Miles Bergman and Dylan Williams have done the same thing.
“It’s so exciting,” Georgiades told portadelaidefc.com.au.
“Both of them are going to be really good players. Dylan is probably one of the most talented footballers I’ve come across. He’s just got smarts, he’s amazing and just does some crazy things.
“Miles is one of the best athletes in the AFL, or has the potential to be, so it’s really exciting (to sign on together) and I’m really excited to see what they can do for the club.
“I’m sure very soon we’ll see them out on the big stage.”
Georgiades was the only one of the group to play AFL this year with Williams and Bergman getting close – the latter was an AFL emergency on several occasions.
He earned himself an AFL Rising Star nomination in the Round 9 win over Melbourne, when he booted three goals and took five strong marks.
“The last game I played before playing in Round 1 was year 11 school football so it was a big step up but it was amazing,” Georgiades said of his 2020 season.
“Despite the weird circumstances, all you’ve wanted to do while growing up is to play AFL football so to achieve that and to be part of such an amazing year for the Port Adelaide Football Club is pretty special and I’m really proud to say I played a part in it.
“I absolutely loved every minute of it, from the first game to the last game watching the boys go out there was just amazing and it’s been really exciting.”
There were reports that other clubs would target the West Australian, but he was never going to leave.
He admitted extending his contract beyond 2021 had been on his mind for a while.
“I’ve been thinking about it all year,” he said.
“I was never in doubt that I was going to stay at Port Adelaide. I absolutely love it here despite the weird circumstances (of the year), I’m where I want to be and I can’t wait for another couple of years here.
“As soon as I came here you felt the family aspect and it made moving interstate so easy.
“Moving over to Adelaide, where it’s probably similar to Perth, the lifestyle is very similar.
“In terms of the boys, the staff and just the people have just been amazing and treated me so well, whether that was with my host family when I first moved here or living with Ryan Burton now, I’ve just loved every minute of it and it’s just where I want to be.”
As for living with Burton, it has been a relatively smooth transition, barring a few of the defender’s housekeeping rules.
“He’s a neat freak who likes it his way or the highway,” Georgiades joked.
“He’s got his own shelf in the pantry and my stuff can’t be on that shelf and his own shelf in the fridge and my stuff can’t be on that shelf so he’s very to the line with that sort of stuff but he’s good fun to live with.”
Having just had a taste for the big time, Georgiades cannot wait to get back into pre-season training and build towards 2021.
In the meantime, he has been relaxing in Queensland for enough time to allow him to head back to Western Australia to see family and friends for Christmas.
He already has big plans for a new role next season and beyond.
“I spoke to the coaches a lot towards the end of the year about playing that high half forward role,” he explained.
“I think I’ve got the athletic ability to use my legs and play a bit higher so we talked about replacing the Brad Ebert-sort of game style and being able to run up and down the ground so that’s where my next development is.
“I feel like I can play deep, although there’s still plenty of work to do on that part of my game, but (I’m looking forward to) learning my craft as a high half forward and getting up the ground a bit more.”