IN a season where Essendon has made headlines for all the wrong reasons, the impressive debut of Ararat's Lauchlan Dalgleish against North Melbourne on Saturday night gave Bombers' fans a reason to smile.
Dalgleish showed plenty of promise in his first senior outing, finishing with 13 touches and three marks in Essendon's 45-point loss to the Roos.
He got his first of 10 opening-half touches four minutes in and looked right at home across the half-back line.
It was a long time coming for the 20-year-old left-footer, who spent almost two seasons on the Bombers' rookie list after being selected by the club in the 2012 AFL Rookie Draft from TAC Cup side North Ballarat Rebels.
His selection chances received a massive boost during the week when he was promoted to Essendon's senior list in place of Marty Gleeson, who was placed on the club's long-term injury list.
Dalgleish's family and friends were at Etihad Stadium to watch his AFL debut.
Father Andrew Dalgleish said it was a proud day for the family and something they would never forget.
"It's pretty hard to describe the feeling of watching him run out on the ground for the first time there's a lot of nervousness and pride that goes with it," he said.
"Seeing him get his first touch and start to use the ball well and settle in, you then sort of relax a bit and sit back and enjoy it."
Mr Dalgleish said his son was enjoying his time at Essendon and had settled into life in Melbourne.
"I remember when he left after being told he was going to get drafted by the Bombers he had the GPS in the car as he hadn't done much driving in Melbourne before," he said.
"Off he went and he hasn't looked back since he loves the lifestyle and understands the hard work that goes with it."
The Bombers' next match is against Carlton at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday night.