Lance Franklin’s decision to sign on with Sydney as a free agent seven years ago turned out to be one of the best things to ever happen to Shane Mumford.
Mumford was forced out of the Swans after Franklin’s shock announcement, and traded to the team across town for pick 35 in the trade period.
The ruckman had expected to play out his career with Sydney having moved there from Geelong four years earlier, and was confused as to why he had not been offered a new contract before Franklin's move made that clear.
The move to the GIANTS helped him find fresh advice on how to manage the knee injury that had become debilitating in his final year with the Swans, and take on an unfamiliar role as a leader.
In the latest episode of Becoming GIANT, presented by Bingo Industries, Mumford explains why that appealed to him.
“It was something I’d never had to do before. When you have guys like Adam Goodes, Brett Kirk, Judge Bolton – I didn’t see the point in me speaking up,” Mumford said.
“I’ve learnt the complete opposite now, if you’ve got something to say you should always be putting it forward to the group, as any little thing can help.
“I sort of saw it as a bit of a challenge. The GIANTS in the first couple of years was always going to be tough, and even when I got there you walked in the change rooms and there was no facial hair on the kids, there was no muscle.
“It definitely took me some time to wrap my head around it and decide ‘yep, this will be the best thing for me,’ but it caused me to come out of my shell a bit more and really drive the young kids.
“It’s actually worked out being one of the best things for me.”
Mumford recently played his 200th AFL game, notching his 100th game for the GIANTS in the same match. It was a goal that seemed well beyond reach when he decided to retire at the end of 2017 with a foot injury, and one that means a lot to him.
“I’ve always wanted, from when I started my career, I was big on getting my name on the locker,” said Mumford, who returned to the club via the rookie list after one year off.
“One of the things to do that is 100 games, premierships, best-and-fairests, things like that.
“For me it was always a big aim to play 100 games at club and with the whole father-son thing, I think the GIANTS were rapt about that, because Ollie always has a footy in his hands and I think he’s going to be bigger than I am.
“The GIANTS will be more than happy to get first crack at him, and Theo at some point down the track.”