Canberra product Tom Green set to make AFL debut for GWS GIANTS
Originally published on canberratimes.com.au
Tom Green is set to realise a childhood dream when he makes his AFL debut on Saturday night.
But it comes with a twist for the fresh-faced GWS Giants midfielder plucked out of Canberra – almost nobody will be there to see it.
Giants coach Leon Cameron says the Marist College export will make his senior debut against Geelong at Sydney Showground on Saturday.
It comes as Green signs a two-year contract extension with the club which will keep him in Sydney’s west until the end of 2023.
Now he will set his sights on a clash with the Cats after the AFL opted to move ahead with the opening round of the competition in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.
Games will be played behind closed doors for the foreseeable future, meaning Green’s debut could come with his family forced to watch on from elsewhere.
“I’ve only spoken to mum so far and she was pumped, I think she was also a little bit teary because maybe she won’t be here,” Green said.
“She’s just excited. It’s what i’ve wanted to do and I’ve worked hard for it. I’m excited and they are too.
“Everyone is just pumped to play. The season is here. We’ve been ready to go for a few weeks, so we’re just keen to get out there.
“It’s a shame we can’t play in front of our home crowd but if that’s what has to happen for us to get games, that’s what we’re going to do.
“I’m just pumped, it’s not really a tough position to be in. I’m just really fortunate to have been given the opportunity.”
Green tested himself during the pre-season against the likes of Dustin Martin and Luke Parker, with the Cats set to unveil another star-studded list in his way.
“They’re obviously great players, it was great to get out there and a great experience because you learn so much from playing on them,” Green said.
“I didn’t feel out of my depth, I thought I handled it pretty well. It’s just a great learning experience playing on those sorts of guys. Hopefully there will be another great challenge this weekend with [Patrick] Dangerfield, who knows what will happen?”
Green endured a nervous wait on Wednesday night when the AFL left it late to confirm Thursday night’s season-opening bounce would go ahead.
The AFL has announced the 2020 season will be played with a 17-round fixture, with every club to play each other once. Officials hope the first four weeks will proceed as planned.
Green’s imminent debut comes after he was picked up by the Giants with pick 10 in last year’s draft – the highest for a player taken straight out of the ACT.
“It’s a huge thing. A young kid coming in in his first year to get picked for round one is really exciting for us as a footy club,” Cameron said.
“He has had a terrific, not just [pre-season games], but we played a couple of intra-clubs and scratch matches as well, and he has been in really good form.”