When I reflect on my footy journey, I automatically think about the length of time it’s taken to get to 100 games — it’s taken a pretty long time.
It started out like most other kids where the influence of my parents went a long way to establishing a passion for sport.
Cricket and footy were the ones for me. My dad was the sporting director at Haileybury College and he was involved more in the cricket scene but in the end footy was my chosen game.
Dad was a significant influence on my career and life and continues to be to this day — he’s a terrific sounding board.
Footy led me to the AFL draft where I was selected by a strong St Kilda outfit. Opportunities were scarce at the Saints between 2009-2011, they played in three Grand Finals during that time, so I knew my future was elsewhere.
I had a few existing relationships with people at the Adelaide Crows in recruiting manager Hamish Ogilvie, Rory Sloane and Patrick Dangerfield and that triggered my interest.
But ultimately, it was the opportunity to play AFL footy that lured me to the Crows.
It was an easy decision to join Adelaide in the end but the hardest part was packing up and leaving all my family and friends in Melbourne.
Many players have left their clubs in pursuit of playing closer to the place where they grew up but I knew I had to leave mine for a greater chance of getting the best out of myself.
But it’s not as if Adelaide is on the other side of the world. At the time my sister was living in America so a trip across the border wasn’t too bad.
That’s not to say everything has been easy, though. Within a couple of years of moving to Adelaide, my partner Courtney fell pregnant and we started a family.
She’s been incredible but it would be challenging raising two kids by herself every second weekend while I traveled interstate with my teammates.
We don’t have any family up here but the support from teammates and coaches while going through early parenthood has been remarkable.
There’s also been injuries, some more serious than others.
It’s a part of the game but I’ve had a rough run with injuries at times — particularly during that 2014 season.
I couldn’t catch a break that year. It started with a shoulder injury before a broken jaw halted my run mid-year. Then a fractured neck curtailed the season, which turned out to be more serious than first thought.
Spending 12 weeks in a neck brace isn’t something I’d wish upon anyone but if there’s a positive to take out of it all, it’s that they’ve all been impact injuries.
Since then injuries haven’t been too much of an issue and I’ve been lucky in that regard.
There are plenty of influences at footy clubs but one that stands out for me is David Teague. Since David has come on board, we’ve formed a close friendship that exists beyond the confines of the footy club and I wouldn’t be alone in thinking that.
He’s an excellent mentor and friend and will make a great senior coach one day.
I’m fortunate to be in the position I am.
I play footy for a great family club where my kids happily run amuck and steal everyone’s pizza in the rooms after games.
I’ve been around a while now but being only 26, I still feel I have a lot of footy ahead of me.
I’m excited for what lies ahead for the Adelaide Crows this year. Without thinking too far ahead, I’m really enjoying my footy and it obviously helps when you’re winning games with a finals campaign on the horizon.
We’ll be giving it a real go.