First Chinese national set to represent elite Australian rules football club

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-25 15:51:59|Editor: Yurou
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CANBERRA, Aug. 25 (Xinhua) -- Chinese recruit Chen Shaoliang will become the first Chinese national to represent elite Australian rules football club Port Adelaide at senior level, making his debut in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) on Saturday.

Chen, 25, was picked up by the Magpies reserves as the club's Australian Football League (AFL) International Scholarship Player, and has been plying his trade for local side Yankallila in the Great Southern Football League waiting for a call-up.

In a statement released by the club late Thursday evening, it was announced that Chen would don Port Adelaide's "prison bars" strip for the first time on Saturday.

The Magpies reserves play in the third tier of Australian rules football in South Australia - just two below the Australian Football League (AFL), which hosted a match between Port Adelaide and Gold Coast in Shanghai earlier this year.

Chen was selected by Port Adelaide as a talented international prospect. He captains "Team China", which is the representative Australian rules football team playing in the International Cup.

In the media release, Chen said being selected at such a high grade was reward for his hard efforts over the past two years; in 2016, he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and was forced to wait a year before making his Port Adelaide debut.

"It's been such an exciting year for me, to play local footy in Yankalilla, to captain China and now to play my first game for Port Adelaide," Chen said.

"I can't wait to play this game and play my role in the team, the (Port Adelaide) Magpies are minor premiers (in the reserves) so I know I will need to play at my best.

"I am very thankful to (Magpies senior coach) Chad Cornes, (reserves coach) Mark Clayton and everyone at the Magpies for this opportunity."

Meanwhile Cornes said it was an "honor" to have the Chinese player making his Port Adelaide debut, praising Chen's resilience and determination.

"Chen has done everything right in his rehab since injuring his ACL, and a few games under his belt in the Great Southern League and captaining China in the IC17 have done him well," said Cornes, who played 239 matches with the Port Adelaide Power - the AFL side.

"It's an honor to play for the Magpies at any grade, so he'll be pumped for Saturday - it's a well-earned opportunity for him.

"Our reserves have played strong footy all year and we'll be expecting him to play his role in the team and play with trademark Port Adelaide passion and commitment."

The Magpies reserves will play the North Adelaide Roosters at Prospect Oval in Adelaide on Saturday.