Henry Schade is still settling into life in Melbourne but is already making a name for himself among the Collingwood faithful as a rock in the Magpies defence.
The move to Melbourne came following a rough month for the Tasmanian-born defender.
Schade was de-listed by the Gold Coast Suns following the 2016 season where he had been playing since he was drafted in 2011.
He continued to train with the Suns with the expectation they would re-draft him in the rookie draft when Collingwood struck.
“Everything pretty much happened overnight, once I was drafted by Collingwood, I was on the plane down from the Gold Coast the next day,” Schade told Aflplayers.com.au.
Within 24 hours of getting on the plane away from his home of four years, he was training in black and white.
“It’s really great to be in a new city and a new club and it’s very different living in a footy environment.”
“It’s been a massive challenge moving clubs and moving cities but Collingwood is so well structured and have been super supportive and so welcoming.”
Schade’s transition was aided by having family to live with as he tried to take in the week that had turned his life upside down.
The move to Melbourne has seen a huge lift in form for the tall defender, he credits the improvement to the new environment at Collingwood.
“The club has been so positive, the coaches and my teammates have really backed me in all the way and that lets me play to my strengths and that’s really given me some confidence and I can play my own brand of footy.”
He has established himself in the Magpies defence this season, but had struggled for game time at the Suns.
“It took me three years to get my first AFL game after I was drafted and at times it was a struggle and was really frustrating, I didn’t know if I’d ever get a game.”
“It really challenged me mentally and made me a lot stronger, trying to push through all of that so when I finally made my debut it was a massive relief.”
He can now put a tough few years in Queensland behind him.
Schade says while it wasn’t always easy, it was a period of learning and growth.
“Getting de-listed and moving was all so sudden and I felt a bit lost, it really was the end of an era for me when I was de-listed by the suns, so I was really sad to leave.”
“Getting drafted as an 18 year old from Tassie was really exciting and I had no idea what I was in for when I moved up there.”
“Lots of players go through having to leave home to play footy, being from Tassie I knew I was going to have to go interstate to play footy, and it definitely shaped me to be who I am today.”
Schade is proud of his Tasmanian heritage and backs the Tasmanian bid to one day have their own AFL team.
“Tassie have been pushing for an AFL side for a long time which I think would be a fantastic thing to happen, Tasmanian football and support of footy is definitely strong enough to warrant a team.”
Schade’s roots have helped him at Collingwood too, where fellow Tasmanian Jeremy Howe has taken care of him, and even presented him with his jumper.
“It is really special being from Tasmania, Tassie people always manage to find each other and stick pretty close.”
“It’s been great having Howey around, he’s taught me a lot and it was awesome to have him present my jumper, it was a really special moment between two Tassie boys and one I won’t ever forget.”
Schade can now look forward to a career with the Magpies, which he says he won’t be taking lightly.
“Having to fight so hard to play footy, and making the move down here and going through all of it has made me really grateful for the opportunity I’ve been given, I’m loving playing regular footy and don’t want to let my opportunity slip.”
“Every time I get to run out there playing in the AFL, I never take it for granted.”