THE Giants unveiled another first-round draft pick when Foster’s Ryan Angwin made his long-awaited debut against the Western Bulldogs at Giants Stadium on Saturday night.
In front of his parents Rob and Pauline Angwin of Foster, and brother Dylan and sister Ashleigh, along with a group of mates who made the journey to Sydney for the game, Ryan finally made his life long dream come true lining up in the seniors. Unfortunately a serious ankle injury prior to half time restricted him after the main break and he was forced from the field late in the game.
He certainly didn’t look out of place as he took a strong mark in the first quarter and got some handballs to team-mates in better position during what was a goal fest between the two sides.
Ryan is the third player from Foster in recent years to have made the “big league” with Brett Eddy and Xavier Duursma both playing for Port Adelaide. Former Fish Creek youngster Sam Flanders is also playing for the Gold Coast Suns.
19-year-old Ryan has been forced to bide his time in the VFL and build his body up to AFL standard – he added 12kg after arriving at the club weighing just 70kg – since being selected at pick No.18 in the 2020 NAB AFL Draft.
But after three eye-catching efforts in the reserves across the past month, interim Giants coach Mark McVeigh produced a surprise selection ahead of round 14.
Shortly after being informed by McVeigh of his debut in front of the entire football department and playing group, Angwin said he has appreciated having to fight for a spot in the GIANTS’ 22, even if it has been difficult watching others from his draft class hit the ground running.
“You have to be patient, especially me coming up as more of a development player. There is obviously some frustrating times where you think you’re close and then your name doesn’t get read out and circumstances like that,” Angwin said.
“To get an opportunity now, I wouldn’t have it any other way. To have to fight the way I have over the last year and a half, I feel like it has set me up for this moment today.”
Angwin grew up in Foster – a world away from the harbour city – where the population is just north of 1000 people and he took some time adjusting to life in Sydney.
He lived with Tanner Bruhn, who went six picks ahead of him, and Cam Fleeton last year, but has since moved in with ruckman Braydon Preuss.
“I reckon the first month at least, it rattled me a fair bit. I grew up two and a half hours southeast of Melbourne. There was no city around, just country. I wasn’t used to a city or anything like that,” he said.
“The day I got here I turned 18, so it took some time adjust to the lifestyle and adapt to Sydney. Once I settled in, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I absolutely love it up here. I can’t see myself leaving anytime soon.”
Angwin inked a two-year contract extension in April and becomes the latest first-round pick to debut from the 2020 draft class – Gold Coast midfielder Elijah Hollands is the only top-20 pick yet to play a game, after arriving at the club needing to recover from a knee reconstruction.• Left: After taking a strong mark in the first quarter, Ryan looks downfield to have his first kick in what will be a promising career for the former Foster youngster.