It's hard to know if Saturday will be more significant for Nick Shipley or for AFL in Western Sydney.
The 18-year-old will make his AFL debut for GWS Giants against Brisbane at Spotless Stadium – the first player from the south west has the club produced through his academy.
Three years ago, the child from Campbelltown dreamed to play for Socceroos, and AFL was not even another in his sporting ambitions, the place belonged to NRL. TIPPING: WHAT THE EXPERTS MAKE
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"Sometimes it's hard to believe. I started when I was 15 and from there just grew. I never knew really about AFL. I did not know much about the sport before I was invited to the academy. I dreamed of playing for Sydney FC and Socceroos, and if it did not happen, I thought of NRL. "
At 188cm and 95kg Shipley is a highly-built midfielder who can win his own ball and have great flexibility to go with a surprisingly good skill set for someone who is so new to the game.
"If Giants Academy was not there I would not play," said Shipley.
"I never had contact with the game before I was invited to attend a college clinic at Mount Carmel Catholic College. I never thought I would play footy at this level, especially from Sydney's west. not a big footy area.
"I did the whole pre-season and it gave me confidence to compete in the JLT series and other matches. I did not feel out of place, and the boys helped me very much. "
Shipley was told the news of his debut in front of teammates and staff at the club at Anzac Day.
" When Leon said it was unreal, "said Shipley.
" We had the whole team there with the staff then he announced
"It was very special, the boys came around me. I do not feel nervous, I just can not wait to get out and play."
"I'll get nervous a few minutes before the game, but just Now I'm beautifully relaxed. "
Saturday's game must not draw a big crowd but Shipley's family and friends from Campbelltown and other parts of Sydney's west will do their best to swell the numbers, with Shipley's mother Jessica, There is asking for 50 tickets to meet the demand.
"My old football courts come, my friends will be there as well as my cousins and family. My mother asked for 50 tickets, I do not even know that many people. "
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