Football coaches love players who fight and scrap and get every little bit out of themselves as possible. When milestones arise for those players such as 50 or 100 games they are even more celebrated for the journey through resilience and perseverance.
Ahead of his 100th game this week, Sam Reid reflects on 14 years in the AFL system and this week will reach the milestone when the Giants face North Melbourne at Blundstone Arena on Sunday.
After being drafted to the Western Bulldogs in 2007 with pick 35 in the national draft, when he crosses the white line on Sunday, Reid will have had the 7th longest wait in history to notch the milestone.
It’s a rollercoaster journey that has seen the highs of playing on Grand Final day and being a key part of the Giants side in the run to the day and the lows of persistent and major injuries that have led to major health battles.
All of which Reid wears with a badge of honour with the resilience and grit shown to reach a happy milestone that is felt by many in the Giants community.
‘The way my career has gone with the ups and downs over 14 years, I’m really happy that I’ve gotten there for my family” Reid said to the media on Tuesday.
“and for myself, the perseverance that I’ve shown to get to 100 games is a pretty big milestone.
“It’s taken me ages but I’m pumped to have gotten there”.
The 31-year old’s path to 100 games has been an extraordinary tale of persistence. After 10 games with the Western Bulldogs, Reid was one of the original mature age recruits to the Giants ahead of their inaugural season. He was delisted at the end of 2013 but stayed on as a development coach at the club.
In 2016, he was re-added to the rookie list after famously filling in for the Giants NEAFL side and showed the form that was worthy of earning his spot back on the AFL list.
The Giants had their mid-season bye last week, a time where Reid was reflecting on the upcoming milestone.
“The first message i got actually was from Wardy’s [Callan Ward] old man Gregga”
“He’s obviously been there form when I got drafted with Cal at the Bulldogs. We’ve had different careers. He’s a tough marker but the words that he said really made me think about what my journey has been like and the resilience and everything that I’ve shown”
“to have 2 years I’ve had out of the game, the injuries I’ve had to overcome, playing with type 1 diabetes and all that.
For Reid, getting back on the list and playing Football at the highest level again was the goal. Filled with the drive to prove people wrong. It’s the journey less traveled, but for Reid, it’s all part of his unique story.
” It’s all part of my story and the resilience and everything that I’ve shown.. I’m pretty proud”
For the last half a dozen years, Reid has been playing with “an edge” on rookie contracts, as he has since his re-admittance to the AFL list. More often than not, the last man on the list.
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While many other players across the league would search for better job security, This model has allowed Reid to play his way of life and death footy to keep proving himself worthy of a spot on the list for the next year.
“It [certainly] keeps you on edge in the way that i play and the role that i play in this team as that shut down defender who plays life or death footy and tries to set the example there”
“It keeps me on the edge every year, every year I’m playing for another contract”
As one of the elder statesmen of the team and the backline, Reid has been buoyed by seeing his younger teammates step up to the plate and holding the fort down back in the wake of absent stars in recent weeks.
“Its been great. We have those blokes that come in and play their role and know their role”
“We’ve gotten back to that real enthusiasm, pressure and contested ball stuff.
“We’ve got a couple of blokes in the backline that literarily never give up, Jack Buckley, Connor Idun, Isaac Cumming, Lachie Ash. All those younger guys”
“as an old guy, it’s exciting, it gets me up and going every week.”
The Giants set to gain some much-needed reinforcements this week with Phil Davis, Matt de Boer, and Toby Greene all pushing to be available for the trip to Tasmania. All three trained strongly and will be considered following training on Thursday.
Lachie Whitfield and Bobby Hill ran laps away from the main group but are both set to train fully on Thursday.
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