TOM De Koning emerged unscathed from his return to action for the Northern Blues yesterday.
The emerging tall played his first VFL game of the season at Preston City Oval in his first game back from a knee injury which delayed his start to the year.
Getting through his allotted game time for Northern, De Koning collected 10 disposals in the 17-point win.
VFL senior coach Josh Fraser said he was pleased with the manner in which De Koning got through the game.
“Tommy is going to get better and better,” Fraser said.
“He jumped at a lot of high balls inside 50, competed really hard and he got better as the game went on.
“He’ll keep building from here.”
After a quiet opening, De Koning found more of the ball as the game went on, with his third quarter yielded five disposals, a couple of score involvements and a crunching tackle in the forward pocket.
As scheduled, the versatile tall came from the ground at three-quarter-time as the Blues returned to winning form.
Fraser said De Koning would continue to be used in a dual role, particularly with the likes of Patrick Kerr, Matthew Lobbe and Andrew Phillips at his disposal.
“It’s hard to manufacture them all through the ruck,” he said.
“We played Tommy mainly as a forward — we’ve got three guys out there over 200 centimetres at the moment.”