NORTH Warrnambool Eagles' Billie Smedts revealed he was overwhelmed by the noise the parochial Fremantle crowd made during his AFL debut with Geelong last Saturday night in Perth.
Smedts, the Cats' number one draft pick in 2011, started on a half-back flank against the Dockers and more than held his own on the big stage.
He finished the game with four kicks, five handballs and seven tackles.
The 19-year-old told Cats TV on Geelong's website his first senior game for premiership points was an eye-opener.
"Their crowd was unbelievable," Smedts said. "It was like they had an extra player out there.
"It was my first game. It was a tough initiation.
"They were so loud I could hardly hear myself thinking out there.
He said the pace of the regular season was quicker than during the pre-season.
"The whole game had high speed.
"It took me a good five to 10 minutes to get my head around it.
"After that I sort of found my feet, I started getting my hand on the ball a little bit.
"We had five or seven blokes who had played less than 20 games. There were positive signs there.
"We did all right, we got our hands on the ball a little bit. We can only move forward from here.
"The speed I suppose I need to take in the crowd a little bit earlier on.
"The crowd sort of rattled me a little bit."
Smedts said he was looking forward to the Cats' next game against fierce rival Hawthorn at the MCG on Easter Monday.
Hawthorn is fresh from victory against 2011 grand finalist Collingwood.
"At the 'G next week it's probably going to be a lot hotter as well and the crowd will be even louder I guess so I just have to get my head around that early and focus on the footy early on."
Hip surgery last year kept Smedts out of the game for the year but he won positive reviews from coach Chris Scott after an intense pre-season and some solid performances in the warm up competition.