15 Dream Debut Performances

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Charlie Staines enjoyed an NRL debut to remember, scoring four tries in the Panthers demolition of the Sharks last weekend.

Everyone dreams of making a big impact in your first game, but few actually get to live out those fantasies, some even find themselves wanting the ground to swallow them up.

Of course, it does create certain expectations for the rest of their career so good luck living up to that hype Charlie.

We’re going to take a look back at some of the other players to enjoy dream debut performances.

Jordan Atkins – NRL

It turns out scoring 4 tries on debut is nothing new in the NRL, Jordan Atkins did just that for the Gold Coast Titans in 2008 in a huge win over the Gold Coast Titans.

Injuries derailed the rest of his career and he scored just 7 tries in 41 games after his debut, but he’ll always have that night at Robina.

Billy Slater – NRL

For a little while, it looked like Slater’s debut was going to go into the “firmly forgettable” category with the Storm falling into a 22-0 hole.

Slater kick started a Storm rally (in Craig Bellamy’s first game in charge as well) with this 60m dash beginning a comeback that finished in a 36-32 win.

Marlion Pickett – AFL

We all remember the story from last September, Pickett came in as a Grand Final week replacement for Jack Graham, making his debut in the biggest game of the season in front of around 100000 people at the MCG.

Nerves? What nerves?

Auston Matthews – NHL

Taken first overall in the 2016 NHL Draft, Auston Matthews has been given the unenviable task of turning around the fortunes of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

His first game went pretty well overall, becoming the first NHL player to score four goals on debut which was great… except for the fact the Leafs lost 5-4 in overtime against the Ottawa Senators.

Trevor Story – MLB

You’ve finally made it to the big leagues and your first two at bats come against Zack Greinke, one of the best pitchers in the MLB.

No worries for Trevor Story though, he hammered home runs on his first two trips to the plate, setting a new record.

Marcus Mariota – NFL

Marcus Mariota went second overall in the 2015 NFL Draft, landing with the Tennessee Titans.

The team that passed him up was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who were the Titans Week 1 opponents that season.

Mariota went on to show why he was touted by some to be the better option over Jameis Winston in a Titans rout, throwing four touchdown passes in the first half and finishing with just three incompletions.

That was possibly the high point for Mariota’s career though, he’s now a backup with the Las Vegas Raiders

Robert Griffin III – NFL

Another second overall pick who took the league by storm in his debut performance was the once-dynamic Robert Griffin III.

He kicked off his remarkable rookie season by out-duelling veteran Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints in the Superdome, throwing for 320 yards and two touchdowns, adding another 42 yards rushing.

A shredded knee at the end of his rookie season sent his career on an unfortunate tangent as the guy once destined to dominate the NFL became a career backup.

Anquan Boldin – NFL

Perhaps the gold standard for NFL receivers on debut, Boldin made a statement in his first game with the Arizona Cardinals.

LeBron James – NBA

When you are an 18 year old with nicknames of “The Chosen One” and “King James” there’s going to be a lot of hype about your first game.

In his first NBA game with Cleveland (the first time) LeBron gave Cavs fans hope for the first time in an eternity, tallying 25 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds and 4 steals.

Wilt Chamberlain – NBA

One of the best scorers in NBA history, it was no surprise to see Wilt Chamberlain put up 43 points on debut to go with a tidy 28 rebounds for the Philadelphia Warriors.

Bob Massie – Cricket

In the second Ashes Test at Lords in 1972, the Australians turned to a right arm, fast-medium bowler who had missed the first test through injury as they tried to bounce back from an 89-run deficit in the first Test.

Bob Massie was handed his debut at Lords alongside Ross Edwards but it was the paceman from Perth who stole the headlines, taking 8/84 in England’s first innings to help dismiss them for 272.

With the Aussies holding a 36 run lead, England came in to bat once again and Massie ripped through the English order, improving on his first innings figures by taking 8/53 as the English were all out for 116 setting up a comfortable Australian victory.

It was the high point of a brief test career for Massie but few people can say they took 16 wickets in a single Test, let alone an Ashes match at Lords!

Alan Shearer – Football

One of the greatest strikers in Premier League history got his career off to a flying start in the football league, aged just 17.

In his first start he scored a hat-trick for Southampton, helping them to a 4-2 victory against Arsenal before going on to win the Premier League with Blackburn and score a bag full of goals for Newcastle as well.

He made an impact on debut for England as well, scoring against France.

Robbie Fowler – Football

Everyone has to start somewhere and for the Liverpool legend, it was in a League Cup tie against Fulham.

In the first leg he netted this goal before scoring all five of Liverpool’s goals in his first appearance at Anfield in the return leg.

His very brief tenure as Brisbane Roar manager also got off to a good start, defeating Sydney FC in the Round of 32 for the FFA Cup.

Bobby Charlton – Football

Bobby Charlton was called up to the Manchester United first team as an 18 year old and immediately looked like he belonged, bagging a brace against Charlton Athletic.

Not bad for a kid who was still a part time footballer completing his national service.

Jermain Defoe – Football

Defoe was something of a debut specialist, scoring in his first match for just about every club he played for.

He scored on debut for West Ham, Tottenham (twice), Portsmouth, Toronto FC, the English U21 team and most recently, Rangers.

Chances are he’ll bag a hat-trick on debut for whatever over 40’s Sunday league team he joins post retirement as well.

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