Harry Perryman thought his season was over when he was diagnosed with glandular fever. But a week at the family farm was just the medicine the GIANTS half-back needed to return quicker than expected.
Perryman had been one of the GIANTS’ best players in the round two debacle against the Dockers, picking up 26 touches while his team went down by 31 points in a lacklustre display.
But he felt lethargic throughout the match and noticed that he was recovering much slower than usual.
Perryman put his sluggish recovery down to the disappointing result and the long flight back from Perth to Sydney. But blood tests showed he’d picked up a viral infection that can wipe people out for several months.
“If I didn't go and see the doctor then it could've dragged on a lot longer. But we got on top of it early and knocked it on the head,” Perryman said.
"I've talked to a lot of people about glandular fever, and they've all said the same thing, that people miss a few months or even a year with it, so I was a bit worried that my season was done.
“But I only missed about three weeks. I was pretty lucky.”
Perryman’s understated response to almost seeing his season end after two matches draws on the incredibly laidback nature he has from growing up on a farm near the tiny town of Collingullie in the NSW Riverina.
When doctors told Perryman that rest was the only way to recover from glandular fever he soon made the five-hour journey back to his hometown.
“I went back home for about a week, and just sat on the couch at the farm. I pretty much did nothing, just kind of sat there and watched TV,” Perryman said.
"I was a bit worried about my fitness, but I felt really good coming back against the Dogs last Friday.”
Perryman’s emergence last year was one of the few positives to come out of a tough 2020 season for the GIANTS, who missed the finals for the first time since 2015.
His growing importance to the team was recognised when Perryman finished third in the GIANTS’ best and fairest with 96 votes, just two behind joint-winners Lachie Whitfield and Nick Haynes.
The 22-year-old spent most of last season on the wing, averaging 18 touches a game (23 when adjusted to normal game-length) and kicking 11 goals.
But when Whitfield went down in the pre-season with a bruised liver, Leon Cameron called on Perryman to step in at half-back and use his neat ball skills to ensure the GIANTS still had reliable kicking out of defence.
The 184cm Perryman is now averaging six rebound 50s and 427m gained per game, the most at the GIANTS other than Isaac Cumming who takes the majority of the kick-ins.
"There are a few of us down there that can use the ball well, with [Lachlan] Ash and Cumming, and ‘Whitters’ coming back this week,” Perryman said.
“I think Leon just wants to stock up that group of good ball users in the backline.”