The past fortnight has been a whirlwind for Richmond recruit, Sydney Stack.
After missing out on the 2018 AFL draft, Stack embarked on pre-season training with the Tigers looking to earn himself a spot on an AFL list through the newly-implemented supplemental selection period (SSP).
Nearly three months on from his first training session with Richmond, Stack was announced as the final player on the Tigers’ 2019 playing list.
Now, as a bona fide Richmond player, Stack is attending his first AFL and AFL Players’ Association All Stars summit in Adelaide.
Despite his playing future remaining unknown until recently, the Western Australian was confident in himself that he had done everything right since joining Richmond in early December.
A meeting involving Richmond’s football department sealed Stack’s fate as they agreed he had met training, diet and off-field standards set by the club.
“Since I got there I’ve done everything I could do right by the club and stayed committed to training,” he told AFLPlayers.com.au on day two of the AFL All Stars summit.
Stack’s journey to the AFL has been arduous.
After being overlooked in last year’s draft his football future up in the air but the SSP offered an AFL lifeline too good for Stack not to pursue.
“I got a bit teary because it was just such a long journey to get here,” he said of the moments after he was told he would be joining Richmond.
Hailing from a small, country town east of Perth, Stack is closely connected to his Indigenous heritage and his lineage as a Noongar man.
“Back at home we had a Clontarf, which is like an Indigenous program at the school,” he explained.
“As part of the program we a bit of dancing there, didgeridoo playing, on the drums and painting.”
Although Stack doesn’t consider himself an artist he enjoys participating in traditional Indigenous activities such as playing the didgeridoo and native dance, some of which he experienced on the All Stars summit.
Growing up in WA, Stack idolised Port Adelaide’s Sam Powell-Pepper, who also played for WA in the under-18 national championships.
The two played for the national team when Stack was in his under-16s year, before Powell-Pepper was drafted to the Power.
Attending the All Stars summit has enabled Stack to rub shoulders with some of his childhood heroes including Hawthorn superstars Chad Wingard and Shaun Burgoyne.
Meeting his idols was a moment that left the 18-year-old starstruck.
“Seeing all the legends here and their story about how they’ve played the game, what they’ve done off-field… it’s amazing just getting that advice about what it takes to be an AFL star,” he said.