21-year-old Kieren Briggs will complete his transition from Pennant Hills junior to GIANTS Academy graduate and now fully fledged GIANT when he makes his AFL debut on Saturday night.
The third-year ruckman grew up as a GIANTS fan, living at home in Carlingford in Sydney’s north-west.
After being asked to help fill-in for a friend’s team at the Pennant Hills Demons, the burly tall - who also played soccer, rugby league and rugby union - fell in love with the sport and was part of the club’s Western Sydney Academy from the age of 13.
“It probably started back at Pennant Hills as a kid in the under-12s. I just sort of kept playing footy from there,” Briggs said.
“I played soccer and footy together for a while but I think footy was my path and that’s what I wanted to do.”
Briggs developed through the Academy pathway and spent the 2018 season - after he graduated high school - working at Coles, playing for the Allies and spending a couple of days a week at the club.
By the end of a stellar year he had rocketed into draft calculations and was eventually picked up at selection 34 in the draft.
After being told he would be making his debut against the Tigers at Marvel Stadium this weekend, Briggs drove to his family home to let his parents - Russell and Fiona - know.
“He’s worked really hard … he just had to stay patient with all the injuries and then he’s obviously had people in front of him and other ruckmen turn up,” Russell said.
“He’s just had to stay patient and work hard so (we’re) really pleased for him.
“To have a kid from the north-west of Sydney playing in the AFL … we’re just chuffed as.”
Briggs has developed into a 200cm, 107kg tap ruckman who can also play forward given his size. He’s worked alongside Shane Mumford and Matt Flynn since arriving at the club all those years ago.
A fan of the GIANTS as a kid, Briggs has been there for the good times and the bad.
“As probably a lot of people know - original members and fans - the GIANTS weren’t too great to follow early, there were some sad times,” Briggs said.
“But I think being there from the start really helps with the motivation and drive to play well and succeed for the club and for the members and fans.”
Briggs will become the GIANTS’ fourth AFL debutant of the season - following Tanner Bruhn, Matt Flynn and Conor Stone - when he runs out on Saturday night.
The full team will be named at 6:20pm on Friday night.