The highs and lows of professional sport are usually demonstrated in front of packed houses or heaving grandstands.
For Canberra’s own Tom Green, a former Marist College student, the grandstands will be empty due to a ban on ‘non-essential’ gatherings of more than 100 people in response to coronavirus.
Whatever the crowd, he’ll never forget his AFL debut.
AFL fans first started hearing Tom’s name when he was picked by GWS in last year’s AFL Draft. Tom was number 10 – the highest ever pick for a player from the ACT. Then came a two-year contract extension before he had even kicked a ball in the premiership.
During a team meeting on Wednesday, GWS coach Leon Cameron announced that Tom would be making his AFL debut in round one tonight (21 March).
In his speech announcing the selection, Cameron said Tom thoroughly deserved his selection in the midfield.
“You’ve made a great impression in your short period of time at the footy club, so cherish your first game,” advised Leon. “You haven’t put a foot wrong. The boys obviously loved the way you go about ploughing in and feeding the ball out to them.”
Tom was momentarily caught off-guard. It was the first he heard of his selection and it came as a shock.
As he explained in a telephone call to his mother, which was posted by the Giants on social media, “Mum, so we just had a team meeting and I found out I’m playing this weekend.”
Judging by the response from Tom’s mum she was equally stunned and extremely proud.
“I’m excited,” said Tom, “Leon sprung it on me at the meeting, so I was pretty surprised; I was taken aback.”
Given the ban on large congregations due to coronavirus, Tom’s biggest fans will be watching not from the ground as they’d prefer but on television.
With the likelihood that Tom will play on Brownlow Medallist Patrick Dangerfield when the Giants take on the Cats on Saturday night, there will plenty to watch on the highlights reel.