ANATOMY OF A DEBUT — JACOB DAWSON

I started in the Gold Coast Suns academy when I was about 13, but all the way through I was a crazy Geelong supporter.

As things started to ramp up with the academy when I was 15 or 16, though, my views started to change a bit. Geelong was my team, but I always wanted to play for the Suns at AFL level.

I’ve got a real connection with the club — I’ve been there for years and I want to see the club succeed. That connection made my debut game last weekend so much more special, finally getting the chance to run out for the club I dreamed of playing for.

I found out the news on Wednesday in a team meeting. We were going through a few things as usual, and then Stewy Dew said, ‘We’ve got someone debuting.’ It came up on the screen and the boys went nuts, which was one of the best things that’s ever happened to me.

I called my girlfriend Zali straight away, and she started crying as soon as I told her — I’ve been with her for four or five years, so she’s been on the journey the whole way with me.

The media team wanted me to keep it from my parents, and later that night they told mum and dad that I would be doing a normal interview with them. I asked them about family life and that sort of thing, then finished it up by asking them, ‘are you looking forward to coming to watch me play in Tassie this weekend?’

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