I DIDN’T understand it when it happened but I do know.
The Crows decision to recruit Kyle Cheney to the club back in late 2014 was baffling to say the least.
After all, he was 25 years of age and had played just 41 games in six years at two different clubs, Melbourne first and then Hawthorn.
He should have been resigned to a long stint in the VFL. He wasn’t.
He had belief. He had faith in his ability. He was a fighter and he was right but it did take time.
Cheney’s first year at the Crows was hardly a roaring success.
Twelve games in total in an injury-interrupted season that did little to dispel any doubts on his future, but he was clearly a survivor.
There was something to like about him.
Not sure what it was but there was something.
Kyle Cheney really arrived in 2016.
The moons aligned and Cheney thrived, playing all 24 games. Yes, AFL not SANFL.
Cheney not only played all 24 he played well in almost every one of them, finals included.
He averaged 13.5 disposals a game at 83 per cent efficiency. Only Josh Jenkins (1.2 a game) averaged less clangers than Cheney (1.4 a game) and he was fourth at the Crows for one per centers.
He stood them all — from the tallest to the smallest forward — and was as reliable as any.
Those of us that didn’t believe do now.
This was a great story.
It came back and bit him on the backside 12 months later when he played zero games in 2017.
Cheney struggled through a few in the SANFL but never reached his best.
Late in the season he became an option if a tall defender got hurt but none did.
He could have been let go. Harsh but fair given his history, but the Crows showed faith. They had belief.
Sometimes good things happen to good people.
He will return in 2018. Do not be surprised to see him line up in game one and not miss a beat all season. With Jake Lever gone, the door is open.
Now with 77 games to his name, game number 100 is looming.
It will take a 2016-esque effort but do not be surprised if it happens.
One door shuts another one opens. Make it happen, Kyle.