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The Life Membership

A Season Defined - Callan Ward It was a season of many highlights for Callan Ward but it was an off-field honour that rates high for the GIANTS co-captain.

It was the day Callan Ward joined an exclusive club of two.

On the eve of the GIANTS’ round 19 clash with the Saints at the Sydney Showground Stadium, the whole club gathered to celebrate reaching 25,000 members for the first time.

It was also the day before co-captain Ward ran out in GIANTS colours for the 150th time.

The milestone is often a component in earning club life membership around the league.

But no player had yet reached the milestone for the GIANTS, and the board had not previously had to ratify what would qualify a player for the honour.

Everything’s bigger up close. CLICK HERE to renew or become a GIANTS 2019 member today.

But when GIANTS chairman Tony Shepherd AO stood before the crowd to congratulate Ward on reaching the milestone, he also surprised the 28-year-old with Life Membership – just the second ever bestowed by the club.

The GIANTS’ first Life Member was inaugural coach Kevin Sheedy, who was this year elevated to Legend status in the Australian Football Hall of Fame.

“I knew at the Dogs that 150 games was Life Membership, but here I didn’t know,” Ward told GIANTS TV.

“So when it was announced here on the Friday morning before the game, it was (a feeling of) excitement. I was just so pumped about it.

“I didn’t know what to expect. In front of the whole football club – I had that trophy as well – it was just a huge moment.”

Since crossing to the GIANTS from the Western Bulldogs, Ward has played 156 of a possible 161 games, racing to the milestone in astounding time.

The tough-as-nails midfielder – who this year won the AFL Players’ Association Robert Rose Award for most courageous player – said becoming a Life Member of a club had long been a dream of his.


“I’ve never really been that big on personal achievements, but probably the biggest moment of my career to date is getting the Life Membership – 150 games at the great club of the GIANTS,” he said.

“I remember when I was at the Dogs and there were guys there who’d played 150 games.

“I always thought to myself, ‘That’s the dream’ – to play 150 games to actually become a Life Member of a football club.

“At the time at the Bulldogs, that was the dream. And then coming up here, starting at a new football club, to play 150 games and get Life Membership was a huge moment, and it’s one I think will stick with me forever.”

The GIANTS were able to help Ward celebrate in style with a 25-point win over the Saints in the twilight at Sydney Showground Stadium the next day.

He was officially presented with his Life Membership in front of an adoring crowd at the GIANTS’ New South Wales home after the victory, which saw the team climb into fifth position on the ladder.

A Season Defined is a nine-part series that will be released over the coming weeks, taking a look back at some of the key moments from the GIANTS’ rollercoaster 2018 season.