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There's a GIANT in Callan

GIANTS Media  May 19, 2017 2:15 PM

There's a GIANT in Callan Ward In the latest instalment of There's a GIANT in all of us, co-captain Callan Ward shares his leadership journey and the pain of the 2016 Preliminary Final.
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Co-captain Callan Ward is the latest GIANT to be profiled in the club's 'There's a GIANT in All of Us' series.

I think the main thing is to just be kind to everyone, be who you are and just have a smile on your face.

It’s a day that still burns for Callan Ward … Even though he can barely remember it. The latest instalment of ‘There’s a GIANT in All of Us’ tells the co-captain’s story of last year’s Preliminary Final.

Ward takes us back to where it all began for him as a GIANT, arriving at the club from the Western Bulldogs prior to the GIANTS’ inaugural season. 

“It was a really strange trade. To come from a really experienced club like the Bulldogs to the GIANTS, who were full of kids,” Ward says.

“It felt like I was the old guy trying to assert my wisdom to these young boys and it was strange because I was only 21 and I didn’t know how to be a leader back then.”

The inaugural co-captain and one of the AFL’s longest standing current leaders, Ward recalls the September evening last year as he yet again, put it all on the line for his team.

“I just told myself, ‘Go out there, it’s a Prelim Final and everything’s at stake here, We’re playing for a Grand Final.’

“I don’t think you can be scared of getting hurt. I think that’s the attitude you have to have as a player. The harder you go, the less it hurts.”

Ward was knocked out just minutes into the second quarter with the midfielder’s relentless attack and fearlessness a noticeable absence for the GIANTS for the remainder of the game.

“I woke up on the field but I don’t remember waking up on the field,” he said.

“It took me a while to realise what was going on. It probably ended up taking me maybe 45 minutes to know exactly what happened.

“It was extremely scary.”

The GIANTS would go down by six points in one of the most epic Preliminary Finals in the game’s history.

“To get there and lose like that, it was a huge shock because I was confident going in. I thought, ‘We can definitely win this and make the Grand Final next week’.

“It was just so disappointing, every one of my teammates were so shattered.

“And then after the game when I was in the changerooms and saw my Dad and Mum and sisters and girlfriend and all my mates, they were all in there and they looked devastated.

“I play football to make my family and friends proud and to see them like that was extremely upsetting so as soon I saw them I broke down in tears.”

The Bulldogs would go on to upset the Swans in the Grand Final the following week, with the GIANTS forced to look on from the sidelines.

With the club having moved on to a new season and new campaign, Ward reflects on his growth into one of the League’s most impressive players, on and off the field.

“The main thing I’ve always done is I treat everyone the same. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your profile is in the world or in Australia.

“I think the main thing is to just be kind to everyone, be who you are and just have a smile on your face.”

Ward’s piece was launched exclusively at the club’s annual Ladies Lunch in front of more than 500 guests at the Hyatt Regency in Sydney ahead of the GIANTS’ big clash with Richmond at Spotless Stadium on Saturday.

The latest ‘There’s a GIANT in All of Us’ piece comes off the back of the recent release of GIANTS Netball’s first instalment with defender Sam Poolman and her story of persistence and dedication.

The ‘There’s a GIANT in All of Us’ campaign, launched in early 2016, also features athletes from both the AFL and AFLW GIANTS teams; including AFL stars Jeremy Cameron, Shane Mumford and Zac Williams and AFLW players Jess Bibby and Amanda Farrugia.

The GIANTS take on the Tigers at Spotless Stadium at 4.35pm on Saturday, click here to get your tickets now.