HOW many players celebrate their 19th birthday collecting a "Welcome to the AFL" card from the game's biggest star ... and can tell the tale with a touch of maturity and wisdom later?

Lachie Jones can.

"Obviously, I had a 'welcome to the league' moment when (Brownlow Medallist Dustin Martin) fended me off and kicked a goal," said Jones of his first much-awaited duel with the Richmond and AFL superstar on Friday night.

"I was probably a little bit naive - and excited to be in that position. 

"I can now say I've done it ... and, hopefully, that does not happen again."

08:39 Mins
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Lachie Jones press conference - 13 April 2021 | PTV

Lachie Jones speaks to the media.

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This response highlights the maturity that makes the Port Adelaide Next Generation Academy graduate seem well prepared for the big league ... and the testing moments that will keep coming with the game's biggest stars.

"Daunting," says Jones to describe the moment of having Martin approach him in a contest that demanded he take no backward step at Adelaide Oval while a sell-out crowd and national television audience watched with interest.

But the 188cm defender with the 88kg frame seems far from fazed by the challenges that are to follow, including stepping up to football's biggest stage at the MCG on Saturday for the Round 5 clash with a recharged Carlton.

"Obviously the nerves and excitement were floating through for the first game, and it is easy to have an impact because you are up and about," Jones said. "But moving forward, being more composed (is the aim). I know what it feels like - the speed, the intensity, the physicality and the preparation leading up to it ... I will take that to every game going forward.

"I didn't come down to reality (until Monday) on getting back to the club and back into this week's preparation. In the next couple of days I'll continue to break down the game and identify things to work on.

"The mind has switched over to playing Carlton at the 'G. It is a massive game for me, never having played an AFL game at the MCG. It is going to be huge (for all the team while Port Adelaide refits its line-up to cover injuries from the brutal two-point win against Richmond).

"We will embrace that by understanding our opponent and by just playing the game.

"Richmond was a massive game - so you could not be better prepared for what comes after that. I'll definitely be more prepared this week."

Jones cops a Powerade shower from Connor Rozee during the club song.

Port Adelaide's No. 16 call at last year's AFL national draft had the "cult figure" image well before he stepped onto Adelaide Oval for Friday night's epic preliminary final rematch win the league champions. And it has much more to do with the way the tough, uncompromising half-back takes on the contest than - as he thinks - the mullet hairdo and the moustache.

"It is pretty overwhelming," Jones said on Tuesday of his status as a fan favourite before - more so than after - just one AFL game. "I really did not expect the fame; I wouldn't call it fame yet when there are a lot of boys in front of me.

"But it was pretty overwhelming.

"You couldn't help but notice (the crowd reaction) when I ran on (from the interchange bench in the 10th minute of the first quarter). A bit of a roar and first touch, so it was a good night."

Jones, an SANFL premiership player with Woodville-West Torrens last season, entered the AFL seen as a ready made player for the big league by his physical strength and appetite for the contested game. But the step up still challenges every player.

"It's fast ... and obviously the intensity is up compared to the SANFL," said Jones. "But nothing that we haven't prepared for, some was really looking forward to the opportunity and took it in my stride. And I enjoyed every minute of it.

"I'm pretty laid back off the field - and I looked to take that into the game. Obviously, there were nerves floating around but you just try to control them. I knew the preparation had been good and there was not much more to do once I stepped onto that field. I was best prepared and embraced it and took it on."

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Game Film: Round 4 | PTV

Go inside our epic Friday Night Footy win over Richmond.

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The personal highlight for Jones was beating Richmond forward, the vocal Tom Lynch, in a contest.

"That was pretty cool," said Jones. "And running out onto the field to get my first touch was something I will never forget."

The fans' reception is, in Jones' eyes, a sign of "how the supporter base at Port Adelaide is invested in the club".

"I couldn't help but notice it ... and appreciate it," Jones said.

Jones will win further appeal among the traditional hardcore Port Adelaide supporters for his choice of celebratory drink after his AFL debut on his 19th birthday.

"That (birthday) tops it, no doubt," Jones said. "I had a few quiet beers when I got home ... but it was a late night and I was pretty wrecked."

For the fans of the mullet hair style, Jones is committed to keeping it - even if it still draws the heavy critique of senior coach Ken Hinkley.

"He is probably the biggest critic of everyone's hair cut ... you could be short back and sides and he'd still critique you for it," Jones said. "You don't let it bother you ..."