PORT Melbourne recruit Sandy Robinson says versatility will be the key to cementing a permanent VFL spot.
Robinson, 25, signed with the Borough on Wednesday night after a standout season with Hampden league club Port Fairy.
The ruckman-cum-forward was considered an outside chance in the AFL national and rookie drafts after a best-on-ground effort in the AFL Victoria Young Guns game in September.
Robinson said the chance to play under former Geelong and Adelaide coach Gary Ayres and at a stand-alone VFL club — where he won’t be competing for a spot against AFL-listed players — was exciting.
“If I am going to have a crack I’d like to know it’s my own form holding me back,” he said. “I was pretty keen to have a crack at a higher level while I can.
“I am 26 in February, so I can’t wait around too much.”
Robinson, who made one appearance with Geelong’s VFL side in 2014, said he would play a variety of roles for Port Melbourne.
He expects to play as a ruckman, forward and defender.
“When you are competing against AFL-listed ruckmen I am always going to be an inch short (at 196cm), so I have to have a few other strings to my bow, so to speak,” he said.
Robinson said Ayres was a key reason for Port Melbourne’s sustained success.
“He’s a great character. I have been training with them since late November and he has an aura,” he said.
“You respect the man from his playing days at Hawthorn and coaching and stuff and when he speaks you listen hard. He’s good fun as well and takes the mickey out of everyone.”
Robinson, who praised Geelong for its support, said he would have a strong interest in Port Fairy’s 2014 fortunes and could see himself playing for the Seagulls again.
“I loved it. It is a great club on and off the field,” he said.
“It was always going to be a big challenge and I’d like to think we made good headway.
“I couldn’t speak more highly of Sam (Rudolph). As long as Sam is there, they are in good hands. I’ll still be floating around and will help out.”
Ayres said Robinson had the “want, passion and desire” to make an impact next season.
“He is very, very keen to ply his trade and craft at the highest level possible,” Ayres said.
“We’re very happy to have Sandy on board.
“Geelong certainly was fairly keen to have Sandy represent them but hopefully it’s a win for us in relation to where Sandy sees his opportunities.”
Rudolph said Port Fairy wanted to see Robinson succeed at VFL level.
“When he came over initially his aspirations were to make VFL and he made that clear. I am all for it,” he said.
“His professionalism and approach to football rubbed off on a fair few people.
“Of course he’ll be sorely missed but it was good to have him.”
Robinson’s departure further depletes the Seagulls’ ruck stocks, with fellow tall James Vickers to spend the 2014 season travelling.
Meanwhile, Camperdown forward Sam Gordon’s return from a 12-month injury lay off is progressing slowly.
Gordon, who battled a debilitating back injury, is pushing for a spot on Port Melbourne’s list of 65.