As Travis Boak lines up for his 250th AFL game this weekend, two current teammates pay tribute to the Port Adelaide star.
When I walked in the doors at Alberton ahead of the 2009 season, Boaky was still early in his career.
Boaky’s character stood out to me instantly, he became someone I would quickly admire. He trained hard, had an incredible work ethic and was willing to do anything he could to try and improve his game.
At that point, Boaky hadn’t quite confirmed himself as a star of the competition but he was leaving no stone unturned to try and improve himself and earn that status.
Leadership was not necessarily something that came to him naturally. He would always set an example around the club with his work ethic but he was never the vocal, boisterous type.
That’s where his biggest growth has come from over the years.
He became a motivational leader who held court when he spoke. Then, from a physical point of view, Boaky is an absolute machine.
His running capability has gone from strength-to-strength and he’s having a career-best season this year.
He’s undoubtedly one of, if not, the most respected man at the club.
The way he goes about his business commands respect but he’s also an incredibly humble and giving person. He gives everyone the time of day and loves to have a laugh with the boys but also knows when it’s time to put his head down and get to business.
It’s hard not to respect that type of attitude and it’s why he’s become a stalwart of Port Adelaide.
Away from the field, Boaky is as driven as he is internally. He’s busy running his underwear company, Rogers, and ambassadorial roles with Red Bull.
It was an ambassadorship that he was striving for and probably part of the reason he never takes his Red Bull hat off – it’s just about stuck to his head!
Everything Boaky puts his mind to and wants to achieve, he finds a way to get there. It’s a real credit to him for his determination.
Boaky is a really big family man as well and every opportunity he gets to go back home to Jan Juc on Victoria’s Surf Coast, he takes.
We spent a season as captain and vice-captain, which stands out as one of the more impactful football memories we have shared.
At that time, we were keen to take the club to a place that they hadn’t been in a while in terms of on field success.
Although we didn’t quite get there as a club, we bounced off each other that year and our relationship really grew – we’ve gone from strength-to-strength.
One thing that stands out about Boaky is his ability to help band our team together, even when times are tough.
He’s an incredibly caring guy, there’s no person who doesn’t like or respect him.
It was 2006 and Travis and I had just been drafted to the Port Adelaide Football Club – Boaky from Jan Juc in Victoria and myself from Eununda in South Australia.
When we arrived we were on two different parts of the spectrum. He was a top draft pick, no.5 to be exact, and I was one of the last. There was a lot of pressure on him in those early days but he embraced it.
In our draft contingent there were a group of us who clicked really well including Robbie Gray and Paul Stewart. We had a good little group and it put us in good stead to chip away together.
The impact Travis had over those first few years at the club were important – they were indicative of what he’d become.
He was able to handle what was thrown at him and he came along in leaps and bounds, translating into him becoming the club captain for six seasons.
Travis is the kind of person who puts everyone else first.
What he gives back to his family, close friends and the community makes him an incredible role model. He’s the type of person who gives as much time to others as he would spend on himself.
Around the club, he’s viewed as the ultimate professional and I’ve been able to take a lot from him. When he took over the leadership from Dom Cassisi it was a tough time at the club.
I don’t think too many players at that point in their careers would have taken on the role of captain but Travis did.
He sacrificed himself to give back to the club and he’s a big reason that Port Adelaide shifted back to where it needed to be.
Nothing’s changed since Tommy and Ollie have come on-board as co-captains. Travis has acted as a mentor to them and been able to provide some insightful advice and share his words of wisdom.
Over the journey, he’s been a great leader and a good mate of mine.
Good luck in your 250th!