The Orange Army continues to grow with the GIANTS officially welcoming the families of the latest draftees to the club on Friday as part of the annual induction weekend.
Accompanied by their families, the GIANTS’ fresh new faces gave those closest to them a tour of the GIANTS facilities, met with senior players and staff - who briefed the families about the players’ new lives - before watching on as the boys were put through a gruelling training session.
The loves one travelled from across the country, with James Leake’s parents coming up from Tasmania while Joe Fonti’s parents made the trek from Western Australia for the special weekend.
Having regularly welcomed players from interstate since the club’s inception, the GIANTS take pride in their first-class induction process, with Welfare and Player Development Manager Dylan Addison highlighting the importance of the weekend.
“It all happens pretty quickly with the draft and then they’re picked up and swiftly off to Sydney and into the training program so it’s important to get their families up and see where the players come and what they’re involved in and who we are at the GIANTS and who will be looking after their sons basically,” he said.
Jo Thomas, the mother of GIANTS Academy selection Harvey Thomas, said she thoroughly enjoyed her official welcome to the GIANTS family.
“This is the first time I’ve been here, so it’s been fantastic and it’s been really informative but fun at the same time and great to meet the other parents and the draftees and their families,” she said.
“We’ve had quite a few info sessions which has been fun where we’ve got to really get a great gist of what these kids are doing and see what Harvey is actually up to day to day.”
Likewise, Alan Leake, the father of number 17 pick James Leake, was enjoying his welcome to the club.
“It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve learnt a lot, so it’s been a good day and I’m looking forward to the next couple of nights,” he said.
The proud Dad said James was adjusting well to life in the big smoke after making the move from Tasmania following November’s draft.
“Well he’s driving alright through the city, so I reckon he’s starting to settle in pretty well,’ he laughed.
“It’s a pretty big change from Launceston with 80,000 people to coming here with five million or whatever it might be, but he’s going really well.
“We’ve been to the beaches and the restaurants and pubs and checking it all out and then hopefully he plays some good footy when they start that.
“We felt there was some good synergy there [between the family and the club] and it’s all there and lined up really well so we are pretty happy…it feels right.”