GEELONG rolled yet another ready-made AFL player off its production line on Friday night when mobile defender Jackson Thurlow became the club's 12th debutant since it won the 2011 flag.

Thurlow, who was the Cats' first pick in last year's NAB AFL Draft, produced a very impressive first-up performance in the 28-point win over Essendon at Etihad Stadium.

The 19-year-old from Launceston in Tasmania finished with 17 possessions, five marks and three tackles.

He looked extremely comfortable in the heat of battle, although he admitted after the game that he did not cope with footy at the elite level as easily as it appeared.

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"Oh mate, I blew up in that first quarter," Thurlow said.

"I was on the ground for 10 seconds, ran once, and I felt like I was going to be sick.

"I wasn't too nervous before the game, but I said to Billie (Smedts), 'I've just got to be sick and I'll be right.

"I dry-retched a few times in the toilets and from then on I was fine."

Despite gasping for air when he first entered the fray, Thurlow soon worked his way into the game.

He picked up six touches in the opening quarter and had 13 to his name by half-time. At that stage he was in the best half-dozen Geelong players on the ground.

"The senior boys said that they would try and get me into the game early, so I can't thank them enough," he said.

"The way they go about it and the way they involve everyone in it, there was no reason for me to not get a kick."

Thurlow was all smiles in Geelong's rooms after the match. A large contingent of family members were there to give him a hug and a pat on the back after he copped the obligatory Powerade spray during the club song.

"It was unreal, mate," he said as he revelled in the moment.

Geelong coach Chris Scott was full of praise for the way Thurlow and the Cats' other youngster held their own against the Bombers.

"Credit to our senior players, but it was just as much our inexperienced players that stood up," Scott said.

"We were really pleased to see Jackson Thurlow have such a strong influence in the first half, and he was pretty good after that as well.

"Schroder and Horlin-Smith and those guys, they look at home to me."

Adam McNicol covers Geelong news for Follow him on Twitter at @AFL_AdamMcNicol