Debutant phone calls home are always brilliant.
But this one might just take the cake.
The mum of Collingwood youngster Trey Ruscoe – who will run out for the Magpies for the first time on Thursday – has taken social media by storm in an epic video call where she learned the news that her son would make his AFL debut.
Ruscoe FaceTimed his mum Fiona on Wednesday after he was told the news, and her reaction proved priceless.
“You decided to ring, did you?,” she exclaimed.
“(I’m) good mate, but how about a phone call every now and then?
“What have you done, what do you want, all of that.”
When he declared “I’m playing my first game tomorrow”, she was stunned.
“What?,” she exclaimed.
“Oh f … off – are you joking? Oh my god Trey, that is unbelievable! Are you stirring me up?.”
She soon realised he wasn’t, when he panned the phone across the room to show a number of Collingwood players and officials – including Ben Reid, who was in stitches.
“Oh no, oh hello!,” she said.
“Oh s …
“Oh, thanks for the heads up.
“Oh Trey, that is so good I can’t believe it.
“Did the whole team fall over or something, did they?.”
Ruscoe, 18, was taken with pick 55 in last year’s draft.
And while his mum declared her pride, there was one last dig, in a warning for the Western Australian.
“I’m so proud of you darl – I can’t believe it’s so quick,” she said.
“Good on you darling, I’m so happy for you. Make sure you go out there and do the colours proud. Don’t be a big wuss.
“I’m so happy for you darl, that’s fantastic news. Fantastic honey. Fantastic.
“At least you rang for something, I suppose, I was waiting for your phone call to get something off me.
“But that’s fantastic, I’m so proud of you.”
Giants name another debutant, Ward returns from injury
Giants players will welcome debutant Xavier O’Halloran into the fold on Friday night against Essendon, but just don’t mention the war.
Some GWS stars will tell you the club’s heartbreaking preliminary final loss to the Western Bulldogs in 2016 stings even more than last year’s grand final humiliation against Richmond.
But for midfield prospect O’Halloran, he looks back on the Bulldogs win as a night of euphoria.
O’Halloran’s late grand father Ron McCarthy played for the Bulldogs in the club’s only other premiership, way back in 1954, and he was jumping around his lounge room as a fanatical teenage supporter at the same moment his now teammates were strewn across the Giants Stadium pitch in despair.
But don’t worry, O’Halloran has quashed those memories deep down as he looks to make a name for himself as a future Giants’ leader in the making.
“I didn’t get up (to Sydney for the 2016 prelim) but my brother did. I was definitely watching at home,” he said.
“My grandfather played for them in the ‘54 premiership and played for a few years, so I obviously barracked for the Doggies growing up as a kid.
“I was very happy that we beat GWS in the 2016 finals. That year was good being a Doggies supporter.
“But now I’m a Giants man. The tables have turned and I’m wholeheartedly Giants now.”
O’Halloran comes in alongside former skipper Callan Ward to replace the Giants’ two massive outs in Toby Greene and Matt de Boer.
It’s been a long time since O’Halloran played a tagging role, so is unlikely to be asked to mimic the ferocious hit man, de Boer.
O’Halloran might be just 20 years of age, but he’s a unique prospect at the Giants, as he’s already considered a leader before he’s even played a game.
“I hope to bring a fair bit of energy, enthusiasm and voice. I’m a player who cracks in and has a physical side to their game and can also run. I hope to bring those things in my game,” he said.
“(Bringing) energy, enthusiasm and encouragement to other players when things are or aren’t going well, that’s one of the things I focus on and try to bring to the table, no matter where I am or what position I sit in within a team.
“I just try to be really loud, encourage everyone to have fun and work hard.”
MCKENNA MISSED LAST ROUND DUE TO HOMESICKNESS
Essendon coach John Worsfold has revealed Irishman Conor McKenna was left out of the Bombers’ team against Brisbane last week due to challenges with his motivation and “homesickness”.
But Worsfold expects McKenna to be available for selection for Friday night’s clash against Greater Western Sydney at Metricon Stadium.
In naming their changes for the Round 9 clash against the Lions, McKenna was listed as being “managed”, but he took part in a scratch match last weekend.
SCROLL DOWN TO SEE THE ROUND 10 TEAMS AS THEY ARE NAMED
Worsfold on Wednesday explained McKenna had raised some issues with his motivation and the club felt it best he sit out the match.
“As we know Conor has been having some areas of motivation that have challenged him with homesickness and things like that,” Worsfold said.
“Last week we felt, in consultation with Conor, that he wasn’t at his best to be able to play in the senior side.
“It was certainly not for us to decide if Conor was homesick or battling motivation. That’s really for Conor to talk to us about, so you could imagine that it wasn’t us initiating that conversation.”
McKenna had played in the Bombers’ three previous matches after a delayed start to the season following a suspension and enforced quarantine period for breaching AFL COVID-19 protocols.
Worsfold said McKenna was “really good” now and would come into the selection frame for this week’s clash against the Giants.
“He’s good (now). Really good. He most likely will be available for senior selection this week and will consider him in that role,” Worsfold said.
Asked what the motivational issues meant for McKenna’s future next year, Worsfold said the club wasn’t looking any further ahead than this season.
“We will continue to support all our players in any issues they have while we are in this unique situation,” Worsfold said.
“It is throwing up a lot of different challenges for a lot of different players and even staff at the moment, so we have got things in place to support everyone to try and function at their absolute best. We have got short turnarounds coming up so every player will be individually supported throughout this period.
“We want to see Conor playing some really exciting football for us in the coming weeks.”
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Worsfold acknowledged the situation had been tougher for McKenna being on the other side of the world to his family.
“Everybody is in the same boat this year. Someone who’s family is only a one or two hours flight at the moment, can’t go and visit them at the moment,” Worsfold said.
“Whereas in a normal season, a player can play a game on a Friday night and then head home to a different state for 24 hours to see family if required, Conor has never really had that opportunity.
“It certainly is tougher than guys who have even moved interstate to play for their careers there.”
WICKS’ WHIRLWIND RISE CONTINUES WITH SWANS DEBUT
— Ben Horne
Sydney Swans have plucked another young prospect out of rugby league heartland, with Manly small forward Sam Wicks coming from nowhere to make his AFL debut against Collingwood on Thursday night.
Wicks was not even on the Swans top list until two weeks ago when he was promoted from the category B rookie roster, but will fulfil his lifelong dream against the Magpies in a testament to the powers of never giving up.
The 20-year-old is the second Northern Beaches player to make it to the big time after fellow Swan Callum Mills and is further reinforcement of the staggering junior registration numbers which show the AFL is starting to muscle its way into Manly Sea Eagles territory.
Wicks made the Swans academy when he was just 12 years of age, and Academy boss Chris Smith said the dedicated talent personifies perseverance.
“He’s always had a really strong focus to make it. He’s one boy that is a really good example to others that when you have setbacks or maybe things not going exactly how you had planned or how you would like them to be, to get over it and continue to put your head down and work hard,” Smith said.
“He was a boy that was overlooked in his draft year. Now he’s been given his opportunity and he’s very much prepared for it.
“That one trait that Sam had that not every boy has, is that determination and focus to continue on regardless of what setbacks are presented to you.
“I’m very, very proud of him actually, because he’s a really good example to other boys who might just miss the post at draft. A lot of the boys think they’re a lot older than what they are, but they are still quite young and opportunity will come to those who continue to persevere and stick at it.”
Wicks was destined not to play this year after sitting on the rookie list, but was promoted a fortnight ago as the Swans looked to bolster their resources for the demands of playing back-to-back matches in the hub.
Born to parents who hail from Adelaide, Wicks has dedicated his sporting life to making it in the AFL despite the fact he went to rugby school Shore.
“I’m unbelievably grateful to get the opportunity. It’s always tough coming from a place where footy is not as big as in Melbourne and Adelaide,” said Wicks.
“But the Sydney Swans academy was the main one that’s helped me get to where I am. They’ve been unbelievable in providing a pathway for Sydney boys like myself.
“My role (against Collingwood) is to play predominantly as a pressure forward. Tackling the opposition as much as I can, trying to win the ball back and hopefully get on the end of a couple of goals.”
FULL ROUND 10 TEAMS (Times AEST)
GEELONG v NORTH MELBOURNE
Wednesday, August 5, 6.10pm at the Gabba
B: M.Blicavs, L.Henderson, J.Henry
HB: Z.Tuohy, H.Taylor, T.Stewart
C: S.Menegola, M.Duncan, M.O’Connor
HF: B.Close, T.Hawkins, T.Atkins
F: J.Steven, G.Miers, S.Simpson
FOLL: R.Stanley, P.Dangerfield, J.Selwood
I/C: J.Bews, Z.Guthrie, L.Fogarty, C.Guthrie
EMG: N.Kreuger, C.Stephens, J.Parsons, F.Evans
IN: T.Atkins, J.Steven, R.Stanley, J.Selwood, Z.Guthrie
OUT: C.Constable (injured), J.Kolodjashnij, G.Rohan, E.Ratugolea, B.Parfitt (all managed)
B: B.McKay, R.Tarrant, L.McDonald
HB: S.Atley, J.Walker, A.Bonar
C: J.Macmillan, J.Simpkin, S.Higgins
HF: C.Zurhaar, B.Brown, B.Scott
F: J.Mahony, M.Daw, L.Hosie
FOLL: T.Goldstein, A.Hall, J.Anderson
I/C: J.Polec, T.Dumont, J.Pittard, W.Walker
EMG: S.Durdin, M.Wood, T.Murphy, T.Campbell
IN: B.Brown, L.Hosie, J.Polec, W.Walker
OUT: C.Taylor (injured), K.Hayden, N.Larkey, L.Davies-Uniacke (all managed)
ADELAIDE v MELBOURNE
Wednesday, August 5, 8.10pm at Adelaide Oval
B: L.Brown, D.Talia, J.Kelly
HB: R.Laird, T.Doedee, W.Hamill
C: B.Smith, M.Crouch, P.Seedsman
HF: N.McHenry, F.McAsey, T.Lynch
F: E.Himmelberg, T.Walker, L.Murphy
FOLL: R.O’Brien, B.Keays, C.Jones
I/C: D.Mackay, H.Schoenberg, D.Fogarty, L.Scholl
EMG: B.Gibbs, B.Crocker, R.Atkins, K.Strachan
IN: T.Doedee, N.McHenry, F.McAsey, T.Walker, D.Mackay, H.Schoenberg, D.Fogarty, L.Sholl
OUT: R.Atkins, R.Knight, B.Gibbs, K.Strachan (all omitted), K.Hartigan, A.McPherson, S.McAdam, T.Stengle (all managed)
B: J.Lockhart, S.May, M.Hibberd
HB: C.Salem, J.Lever, N.Jones
C: E.Langdon, C.Oliver, A.Tomlinson
HF: J.Melksham, S.Weideman, A.Brayshaw
F: B.Fritsch, L.Jackson, H.Bennell
FOLL: M.Gawn, C.Petracca, J.Viney
I/C: J.Harmes, A.vandenBerg, A.Neal-Bullen, T.Sparrow
EMG: C.Spargo, T.Rivers, T.McDonald, O.McDonald
IN: A.Tomlinson, H.Bennell, A.vandenBerg, A.Neal-Bullen
OUT: O.McDonald, T.McDonald, M.Hannan (all omitted), K.Pickett (injured)
PORT ADELAIDE v WESTERN BULLDOGS
B: S.Mayes, T.Clurey, T.McKenzie
HB: H.Hartlett, T.Jonas, D.Byrne-Jones
C: X.Duursma, O.Wines, K.Amon
HF: S.Powell-Pepper, T.Rockliff, C.Rozee
F: Z.Butters, C.Dixon, R.Gray
FOLL: P.Ladhams, D.Houston, T.Boak
I/C: M.Georgiades, K.Farrell, B.Woodwock, J.Westhoff
IN: B.Woodcock, T.McKenzie
OUT: J.Lienert, B.Ebert
B: Easton Wood, Alex Keath, Caleb Daniel
HB: Bailey Williams, Zaine Cordy, Hayden Crozier
C: Jason Johannisen, Jack Macrae, Pat Lipinski
HF: Toby McLean, Marcus Bontempelli, Laitham Vandermeer
F: Mitch Wallis, Josh Bruce, Cody Weightman
FOLL: Tim English, Tom Liberatore, Josh Dunkley
I/C: Bailey Smith, Ed Richards, Sam Lloyd, Roarke Smith
EMG: Ben Cavarra, Billy Gowers, Fergus Greene, Jordon Sweet
IN: Josh Dunkley, Cody Weightman, Roarke Smith
OUT: Matt Suckling (hamstring), Jackson Trengove, Billy Gowers
RICHMOND v BRISBANE LIONS
B: Nathan Broad, Dylan Grimes, Noah Balta
HB: Derek Eggmolesse-Smith, Nick Vlastuin, Jayden Short
C: Kamdyn McIntosh, Sydney Stack, Marlion Pickett
HF: Kane Lambert, Jake Aarts, Tom Lynch
F: Jason Castagna, Dustin Martin, Jack Riewoldt
FOLL: Ivan Soldo, Trent Cotchin, Shai Bolton
I/C: Liam Baker, Jack Higgins, Mabior Chol, Jack Ross
EMG: Oleg Markov, Daniel Rioli, Riley Collier-Dawkins, Jack Graham
IN: Nick Vlastuin
OUT: Oleg Markov
B: Ah Chee, Andrews, Gardiner
HB: Witherden, Payne, Answerth
C: Robinson, Zorko, McCluggage
HF: Berry, Rayner, McCarthy
F: Bailey, Hipwood, Cameron
FOLL: McInerney, Lyons, Neale
I/C: Skinner, Ellis-Yolmen, Starcevich, Ballenden
EMG: Coleman, Hinge, Mathieson, Eagles
IN: Payne (debut)
OUT: Birchall (managed)
COLLINGWOOD v SYDNEY
Thursday August 6, 5.40pm at the Gabba
B: J.Madgen, J.Roughead, I.Quaynor
HB: B.Maynard, D.Moore, J.Noble
C: T.Phillips, J.Crisp, C.Brown
HF: J.Stephenson, B.Mihocek, W.Hoskin-Elliott
F: S.Sidebottom, B.Reid, J.Elliott
FOLL: B.Grundy, T.Adams, A.Treloar
I/C: J.Daicos, B.Sier, T.Ruscoe, J.Thomas
EMG: T.Broomhead, C.Mayne, R.Wills, M.Keane
IN: J.Roughead, C.Brown, B.Reid, T.Ruscoe
OUT: T.Varcoe, M.Keane, C.Mayne, D.Cameron (all omitted)
B: J.Lloyd, D.Rampe, M.Ling
HB: R.Fox, A.Aliir, W.Hayward
C: D.Stephens, O.Florent, H.Cunningham
HF: J.Thurlow, T.McCartin, J.Rowbottom
F: T.Papley, S.Reid, E.Taylor
FOLL: C.Sinclair, L.Parker, C.Mills
I/C: L.Melican, J.Bell, J.Dawson, S.Wicks
EMG: R.Clarke, C.Warner, L.Taylor, N.Blakey
IN: D.Stephens, J.Thurlow, L.Melican, S.Wicks
OUT: R.Clarke, L.Taylor, N.Blakey, S.Gray (all omitted)
GOLD COAST SUNS v ST KILDA
Thursday August 6, 8.10pm at Metricon Stadium
B: C.Budarick, S.Collins, J.Bowes
HB: J.Lukosius, C.Ballard, J.Harbrow
C: L.Weller, H.Greenwood, B.Ellis
HF: N.Holman, S.Day, A.Sexton
F: I.Rankine, B.King, B.Ainsworth
FOLL: J.Witts, D.Swallow, T.Miller
I/C: N.Anderson, S.Lemmens, W.Powell, J.Sharp
EMG: W.Brodie, B.Fiorini, S.Flanders, J.Corbett
IN: S.Lemmens, J.Sharp
OUT: P.Hanley, D.MacPherson (both omitted)
B: B.Paton, D.Howard, J.Carlisle
HB: N.Coffield, B.Long, C.Wilkie
C: J.Billings, Z.Jones, B.Hill
HF: D.Kent, T.Membrey, D.Butler
F: J.Battle, M.King, J.Gresham
FOLL: P.Ryder, J.Steele, H.Clark
I/C: J.Geary, R.Marshall, N.Hind, J.Sinclair
EMG: E.Phillips, R.Abbott, R.Byrnes, M.Parker
IN: B.Long, D.Kent
OUT: M.Parker, S.Savage (both omitted)
ESSENDON v GWS GIANTS
Friday August 7, 7.50pm at Metricon Stadium
B: A.Francis, M.Hurley, B.Zerk-Thatcher
HB: J.Ridley, C.McKenna, A.Saad
C: T.Cutler, D.Parish, M.Guelfi
HF: W.Snelling, J.Townsend, D.Zaharakis,
F: A.McDonald-Tipungwuti, S.McKernan, K.Langford
FOLL: S.Draper, Z.Merrett, A.McGrath
I/C: J.Stewart, M.Redman, D.Smith, D.Shiel
EMG: B.Ham, D.Clarke, M.Gleeson, A.Phillips
IN: C.McKenna, M.Guelfi, S.McKernan, K.Langford
OUT: N.Cahill (Omitted), M.Gleeson (Omitted), B.Ham (Omitted), T.Bellchambers (Managed)
B: H.Shaw, P.Davis, A.Corr
HB: N.Haynes, L.Keeffe, Z.Williams
C: L.Whitfield, S.Coniglio, H.Perryman
HF: J.Kelly, H.Himmelberg, B.Daniels
F: J.Finlayson, J.Cameron, C.Ward
FOLL: S.Mumford, T.Taranto, J.Hopper
I/C: J.Caldwell, L.Ash, Z.Langdon, X.O’Halloran
EMG: J.Hately, B.Hill, M.Flynn, J.Buckley
IN: C.Ward, S.Mumford, X.O’Halloran
OUT: T.Greene (Injured), S.Jacobs (Managed), M.de Boer (Injured)
The remaining Round 10 teams will be named at 6.20pm on the night before a game is played.