Friday and Saturday were two fairly easy days with some light training and a bit of tactics for the weekends upcoming games. On the Saturday the NEAFL boys including me had a short session at the oval in Blacktown before the game Sunday against Sydney Swans reserves.
Sunday started really early because the NEAFL match started at 9:30am. In order for us to get there and do all the preparation in time I had to leave the house at 7:30am.
At the oval we did all the pre-game preparations and were told the lineup. I started on the bench and during the game I would be rotating with the forwards. It wasn’t long into the 1st quarter before I had to rotate in and have my first appearance for the Giants. It was a great feeling being on the field with so many great players and they all did a great job helping me out with positioning myself in the right spots.
I wasn’t really nervous or anything I was just determined to go out and give it a 100% in every tackle, chase and contest. Throughout the game I started to gain more and more confidence and I had a few good tackles and a few touches. I even had a few shots at goal, one of them I should have kicked a goal but just a lack of concentration or maybe I was just too surprised that I actually had the opportunity to kick a goal and therefore I missed. I’m still a bit angry at myself for that.
The game continued and I played almost the whole 3rd quarter up in the forward line and had a few tackles and touches. Unfortunately Sydney were playing really good footy the whole game and we were only doing it for 5-8 minutes and the we would fall behind a bit. It all ended up with a loss 11-12-78 to 19-13-127 (Sydney are currently on top of the NEAFL Eastern ladder). Personally I had two behinds and a few good tackles and chases to put to my name. It was heaps of fun playing for the GWS Giants reserves and I’ve definitely made some great new memories out at the oval in Blacktown.
After the game we headed into Skoda stadium to see the first team take on the Adelaide Crows. Unfortunately it was a big win for the crows 29-13-187 to 7-10-52. After the game everyone headed up to the members bar for a post match function, and I got to say goodbye to everyone from club.
I’m now on my way to the airport and looking back it just seems like I arrived yesterday. It’s been a great time here in Sydney with the GWS Giants and everyone made me feel very welcome. Ahead of me is a 24 hour flight before I’ll be back in Denmark for one day to see my family and after that it’s straight back to Afghanistan for the last 3 months of deployment. It’s been a busy leave period from Afghanistan but I wouldn’t do it any different.
Thanks to AFL Europe for making this possible. Thanks to everyone at and around GWS Giants and a special thanks to Dylan Shiel and Adam Kennedy for having me in their home during my stay.