Third-year Irish recruit Callum Brown will become the club’s fifth debutant of the season, named the medi-sub for the GIANTS’ clash with the Lions on Saturday.

Brown will follow in the footsteps of Irish great Cora Staunton who became the first Irishwoman in the AFLW, playing for the GIANTS across the past four seasons.

Former coach Nick Walsh - now working with the AFL Coaches Association - is responsible for identifying both players and was on hand on Thursday to tell the 20-year-old he may well be playing his first game.


Born in England with Jamaican heritage, Brown was just 16 in 2017 when the GIANTS identified that the up-and-coming Gaelic Football star, playing for County Derry, had the height, skills and athleticism to make the transition to AFL football.

The club kept in touch with him for 12 months before a contingent - including Walsh, then-List Manager Jason McCartney and former GIANT Heath Shaw - travelled to Ireland to speak with him in person and put him through an intensive trial both in Ireland and during a two-week visit to Australia.

Just after he had turned 18, Brown was offered a two-year contract with the club and packed up his life and moved from Limavady into a Breakfast Point apartment with Connor Idun and Kieren Briggs.

As one of the best young Gaelic players in Ireland, it was big news in his home country that Brown had taken up an offer overseas.

His first season - 2019 - was spent getting over some groin issues and then learning the game. The instructions from the coaches was just to simply get out there, have some fun, chase the ball around and see what he could do.

He started off as a forward - he knew how to find the goals - and then a transition to the backline beckoned where his strength, confidence, power, and aggressive speed off the mark could be put to use as a half-back.

COVID ruined his 2020 season - he returned to Ireland when the competition stopped - and when he returned it was hard to find consistency in practice matches sometimes only played with 12-a-side.

Another full pre-season has seen Brown enter his third season full of confidence and in recent weeks he’s been playing as a tall defender despite being listed as 188cm and 92kg.

As VFL coach Luke Kelly said: “I'd hate to play on him, he has great leg speed and his strength in the contest and in the air is great.”

Brown has been listed in the emergencies for Saturday’s match against the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba and will be named the 23rd man prior to the match.

Should an injury occur, Brown will officially make his AFL debut although being the medi-sub will already give Brown a game to his name.

He’ll become the second Irishman to play for the AFL side, behind former Blue and GIANT Setanta O'hAilpin.

It’s a long way from Limavady to Western Sydney and - at just 20 years of age - it’s already been a journey for Callum Brown.

Next stop, the Gabba.