Nick Joyce's faith in the future

Nick Joyce's faith in the future

By

Nick Joyce won’t mean much to footy fans, some might recognise the name, but most won’t be able to place it. That is unless you are asking a Crows fan or punch his name into Google, but only when alongside the words Kurt and Tippet.

Unfortunately for Joyce, his most notable contribution to the AFL so far is as the fall guy in the Adelaide Crows-Kurt Tippett salary cap saga.

Forced to cut a player, the Crows delisted Joyce after just one season despite having a year to run on his contract. He had an anxious wait before the Crows reclaimed the 19-year-old in the Pre-season Draft.

While it’s not something a young kid trying to make his way in the game should have to go through, Joyce put the experience behind him and used it as motivation for the 2013 season.

But football can be a cruel game and almost 12 months and 14 games later, Joyce is nursing not one, but two injured shoulders and facing seven months of rehabilitation.

It’s circumstances that might cause many to want to throw in the towel, but not Joyce. Then again, he is not your average AFL footballer.

Throughout the challenges he has faced in the past 12 months there has been two constants maintaining Joyce’s focus, his Christian faith and the country life.

Joyce is a country kid living only temporarily in the big smoke. Born and raised in country South Australia, specifically Wandereah, just outside of Port Pirie and two hours from Adelaide.

Nothing better than being home for the weekend #seedingtime #truckdoor #volvo

He moved to Adelaide to pursue a football career with the Woodville West Torrens Eagles at 16 years old, but it’s fair to say home is where his heart will always be.

“I plan to be back on the farm helping out and one day hopefully running the farm with my brother, Tom. That’s the dream,” the 19 year old says.

“Being able to walk out your door and go to work and always being around your family, it’s just a good lifestyle, very casual, but also very rewarding as well.”

This year Joyce completed more than 100 hours working on the family farm as part of the AFL Players’ Association and Sportsready Next Goal program.

He returned home one day per week during the season to do some hard yakka alongside his dad and uncle.

“I’ve missed a fair opportunity to actually be out on the farm and learn. Now that I’m back, it’s been a great opportunity to get back and learn and pick up where I left off a couple of years ago, before football got serious.”

Joyce plans to spend even more time there in the off-season while he nurses his wounded shoulders.

He is also working on getting his pilot’s license and given his run of injuries and having already faced his football mortality, albeit temporarily, he is acutely aware of the importance of developing a life after football, while still in the game.

“When you get injured it puts everything into perspective of how vulnerable you can be. You can be in one minute and out the next. So it’s good to be home and know you have that backing if football doesn’t go exactly how you planned.”

“It’s not like your whole life is falling apart if it doesn’t work… If football doesn’t work out, then there is more to life.”

“It’s not like your whole life is falling apart if it doesn’t work… If football doesn’t work out, then there is more to life.”

While some of his Crows teammates might enjoy sipping on lattes’ in a café near the beach, Joyce prefers to hone his hunting skills with a bow and arrow.

“I love to get away from the city and back to the bush, I love to do some camping, hunting and fishing. I grew up doing that and I always loved it.”

“You’ve got to have something to fall back on, something you enjoy and something that will always be there in the future.”

Joyce admits his on-field contributions have been modest in his first two seasons, and while the country life has provided balance, his Christian faith has provided reassurance and guidance in times of uncertainty.

“Through those tough situations like the Kurt Tippett one, my faith was the one thing that got me through,” he says.

“My faith has also helped me and reminded me that this is all happening for a reason. It’s building my character; I’m becoming more resilient. My body’s not too resilient at the moment, so hopefully that gets right.”

While some might suggest that football is a religion in itself, Joyce believes Christianity has been beneficial to his personal development and he can’t imagine life, AFL footballer or not, without it.

“I don’t want to push it down everyone else’s throat, but it’s been incredible for me and I know that having it, I wouldn’t want to live my life without it.”

Despite the turbulent 24 months Joyce has experienced in the AFL system, he is only looking ahead and in 2014 he hopes to start building Google cache exclusive of the words Kurt and Tippett.

“I haven’t been able to play as well as I would have liked in my first years in the league, but it’s been a massive learning curve and opportunity that’s just been incredible and a dream come true really.”

Operation Laterjet #shoulderrecon