This article first appeared in the Daily Telegraph on Saturday, May 30.
Cooped up at home recently, Nick Haynes decided to relive the devastation of the 2016 preliminary final for the first time and there’s a method to the GIANTS star’s madness.
The 27-year-old is producing a documentary on the GIANTS short, but action-packed, history and as part of the editing process needed to sift through vision of the crushing six-point defeat to eventual premier Western Bulldogs.
As Haynes told The Daily Telegraph, it was a painful experience.
“I didn’t have the motivation to work on the doco for about a week and I realised I was up to the prelim and my sub-conscious was putting it off," said the reliable defender.
"Reliving it, watching it back, you get sweaty palms, your heart rate goes up, even though you know what’s going to happen you still feel that adrenalin in your body.
“It was harder than I thought it would be, watching certain things are a bit emotionally draining because you’re so invested, as a player and a fan.
“We didn’t review the prelim, being our last game of the season, so it was hard to watch.
"I forgot we were up by 16 points with six minutes to go, I thought it was a goal each way the whole game but we were up and had the momentum. That hurts more than the granny (last year’s Grand Final loss to Richmond) to be honest.”
With the AFL season on hold, self-isolating at his Balmain home allowed Haynes, who plays piano, taught by mum Shelley, in his spare time, to dedicate countless hours to his project.
"He says it’s been a silver lining, the doco would be on the backburner if the 2020 campaign wasn't put on hold in March.
The idea bloomed early last year and Haynes has poured over years of incredible, unseen footage captured by club digital media manager Craig Abercrombie, including coach Leon Cameron’s address before the 2016 preliminary final and post-game vision of players crying in the rooms.
He’s also interviewed new captain Stephen Coniglio, his predecessors Phil Davis and Cal Ward, Toby Greene and Jeremy Cameron.
Nick Haynes took his camera and spent a week recording what he got up to.— GWS GIANTS (@GWSGIANTS) April 14, 2020
Featuring: Lenny the dog, coffee-making and renovation skills and a sneak peek at his upcoming documentary. pic.twitter.com/YL0o7nSr8h
“I film my holidays with my girlfriend as a hobby, get the GoPro out and at the end make a clip," Haynes explains.
"There’s all this footage sitting at the club and I thought I might make a full-length doco. For a few reasons, to push myself a bit further and also tell the club’s story from a player’s perspective.
“A lot of people think we’re a fake club, plastic club, handed everything by the AFL and we should’ve won a premiership already but from a player’s point of view it’s been much harder than that. I want to showcase what the players were thinking during the first few years, Phil and Cal being
captains of a new club at 21, we were training on a baseball diamond and using portable facilities. There’s a story there and I wanted to tell it.”
As the siren sounded in last year’s preliminary final, Haynes’ feeling of elation quickly turned to the documentary’s evolving storyline.
“It would’ve been nice to win the granny, that was the whole plan. I was thinking ‘this doco’s going to be so good, win the granny and it’s the perfect story.’ We beat Collingwood, into our first ever Grand Final, this is great. I’m like ‘Abbers (Craig Abercrombie) make sure you get all this mate, great vision here!’’ Haynes joked.
“The last couple of months I’ve interviewed the boys and started doing it more seriously because I had more of a storyline and putting footage to interviews was easier.
"I have managed to get most of it done during iso, so the next step is to get it up on the club website, and hopefully make it good enough it’s shown on Fox Footy.”
An avid basketball fan, Haynes loved The Last Dance. The Netflix hit about Michael Jordan has provided inspiration.
“I always like docos that pick out a quote or a phrase for their title. I like Phil Jackson coining that last season ‘The Last Dance’. Cogs (Stephen Coniglio) has this line in his interview and that was 'the Rise of the Giants.'
“I reckon that’s it.”