‘I’m Jack Graham, and my fifth AFL game was a premiership’

Photo: Julian Kingma

Photo: Julian Kingma

Grand final day was pretty nerve-racking. But I just took it as another game really; I just thought they obviously believe in me.

I’m not too bad with all the nerves. I always try to give my old man a call before the game, the night before, or just before it, and we kind of just talk crap really.

The week after the premiership was just an amazing feeling, just celebrating with all the boys. And then I thought I’ve got to get back to Adelaide, it’s too hectic.

I don’t want to get too much spotlight on me, but I’ll just take it as it comes and hopefully set myself up for another big year.

I got drafted at 18. I was just at home watching the draft on TV with my mum and my dad and my partner.

I didn’t want to have too much of a big thing in case worst came to worst and my name didn’t even get called out … it might have been a bit embarrassing. I was really excited – just to hear your name read out and all the hard work you’ve done over the years and all those little sacrifices that you have made, you feel proud.

Graham celebrates kicking one of his third quarter goals. Photo: Wayne Ludbey

Graham celebrates kicking one of his third-quarter grand final goals. Photo: Wayne Ludbey

It’s crazy how it all happens so fast. Friday you’re drafted and Monday you’re at the club rocking up for your first training. You come to the club and as soon as your name’s called out, you’ve got 45 messages from every single one of your teammates. So straight away, you’ve got 45 new friends. That’s probably the most exciting thing, just meeting all the boys and forming new relationships.

When I first got to the club, I lived with a senior player, Anthony Miles. I moved in with him for about a month, and then after that, I moved in with my host family for a year. Obviously you’re not used to the training loads and you’re getting smashed, you come home and the last thing you feel like doing is cooking dinner. They’re basically like your second family.

I live with my partner now. She made the move (from Adelaide), which was good.

I broke my ankle a couple of weeks before round one. That was kind of a setback and I was stuck in rehab and in a moonboot. Footy’s got its ups and downs really, with injury. If you’re stuck in rehab, that can be a tough time. I was in there for 14 weeks where players have been in there a lot longer. It wasn’t the start to my career that I really wanted, but things happen.

Luckily enough, it really did turn out to be a dream come true. I’m still pinching myself a bit, but that’s just what happened.

As told to Larissa Ham

 

Photo: Julian Kingma

Photo: Julian Kingma

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