Essendon’s number one draft pick Andrew McGrath will make his AFL debut on Saturday night against Hawthorn.

The Bombers secured the former Sandringham Dragon and Brighton Grammar student with the first selection in last November’s National Draft.

McGrath played across half-back during the Bombers three JLT Community Series matches, looking composed throughout.

Coach John Worsfold said he wants the Club’s latest debutant to enjoy the moment. 

“We just want him to back himself in and believe in himself,” Worsfold said. 

“Your first game is always a massive learning curve. He’s played in the JLT Series but this game will just be so exciting for him. 

“We’re not expecting him to be a game breaker, we just want him to get out there and enjoy the experience.” 

More than 80,000 fans are expected to be in attendance as McGrath plays his first senior game.

The game will mark the return of several Dons stars.

“We’re really excited about it – there has been a lot of things happening over the summer with the biggest one just being getting the group back together and also having new draftees coming through,” Worsfold said.

“Everyone is really pumped about round one and we’re all looking forward to it.”

McGrath was born in Canada but moved to Australia when he was five.

He excelled across a number of sports throughout his teenage years. He was an underage champion in hurdles, high jump and even won a state heptathlon title.

But football won out and throughout 2016, McGrath rocketed up the draft rankings.

A 38 possession best on ground performance in Sandringham’s TAC Cup Grand Final victory sealed his standing as the number one draft talent in the country.

“He’s just got that constitution about him, he’s a winner,” List and Recruiting Manager Adrian Dodoro said after the draft.

“Everything he does is about winning, he’s such a determined young man, he’ll give it his best shot and he won’t let anyone down.

“The thing that probably separated him from the pack was that he can play in the midfield and be such a devastating attacking player but he also really values defence.

“He’s one of those guys that if the game isn’t going so well in the midfield he can go back.  If he’s playing in the back half he can give you a lot of transition out of there.”