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Another Giant rises

Saturday, 12th May, 2018

North champion Jayden Kelly in action in round one. Kelly will line up for the GWS Giants reserves team today in Sydney. PICTURE: Tyler Hannigan North champion Jayden Kelly in action in round one. Kelly will line up for the GWS Giants reserves team today in Sydney. PICTURE: Tyler Hannigan

By Tyler Hannigan

While one former Bulldog makes his AFL debut today, a current North Football Club superstar will line up for the GWS Giants reserves in their NEAFL clash with the Sydney Swans reserves.

Five-time Lionel Johnston medallist Jayden Kelly will play in the curtain raiser clash having been a late call-up.

“I got the call earlier in the week from Jason Saddington (GWS development coach) from the Giants and thought it was a stitch-up at first,” Kelly admitted.

“But when I knew it was serious it was a bit of a shock. I asked him whether they knew I was in my late twenties but he said that they were after someone more experienced to play considering they have a lot of injuries and a pretty young team.

“So I gave it a bit of thought but in the end decided to give it a crack. I’ve been told I’ll play a fair bit through the middle so it’ll be interesting to see how I go with the step up from Broken Hill footy.”

Kelly, 29, flew out yesterday morning and will take to the field at 10:20am AEST, which is likely to be the earliest he’s played since the Under 16s when they played at the Zinc Oval on a Sunday morning. 

“I’m normally just getting out of bed at that time,” Kelly said.

“But it will be great to get out and have a run. I’m catching up with Isaac (Cumming) for dinner the night before with him and a few of the boys I’ll be playing with. It’ll be good to meet them and learn their names before the game!

“Mat Garrick, Justin Hoskins and a few others are travelling over to watch Isaac’s debut so they can come along early and watch an old bloke run around with some of the kids.” 

Today is far from Kelly’s first taste of state league football having played a number of games for Central District’s reserves in the SANFL earlier in his career.

He also appeared on the second season of Foxtel’s The Recruit, a football reality show in which Kelly made it to the final four contestants. Interestingly, the winner of that season, Matt Eagles, made his AFL debut last weekend for Brisbane against Collingwood. 

“I’ve learned a fair bit since playing with Central District, especially while I was on The Recruit,” Kelly said.

“It’ll be a challenge but I’m looking forward to it.”

Kelly’s absence will hurt North’s chances locally as they match up with Central at the Memorial Oval. He booted five goals and was one of the Bulldogs’ best in their win last week over West.

Kelly has also recently moved into coaching with the local GWS Academy which has seen him travel with the local squad and was also factor in him playing today’s game. 

GWS often call on their academy zones, such as Broken Hill, to supply one or two players for their reserves team through the season. Last season talented junior Tyler McInnes played for the Giants in the NEAFL as did Cumming in the season prior to being drafted.

The Giants currently have a long injury list and it includes senior players Brett Deledio, Toby Greene, Josh Kelly, Adam Kennedy, Tom Scully, Will Setterfield, Zac Williams and Broken Hill’s own Lachie Tiziani who injured his knee a few weeks ago.

The Giants and Swans sit ninth and tenth on the NEAFL ladder respectively after five rounds. The Giants’ only win came in round one over the Swans by four points and Sydney are yet to win.

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