Tomorrow, Sam Gilfedder will play his first NEAFL match at Blacktown vs. the Canberra Demons – whilst this is an achievement within itself, it is even more impressive as this is only his third season of AFL.
A rugby player during his schooling years at Newington College, Gilfedder didn’t pick up AFL until 2017.
“When I finished school, I wanted to take a break from sport, but some family friends of mine (Myles Turpin & Matt Wonders) convinced me to come down at try AFL at Sydney University”.
Gilfedder soon played his first game in the Hoops, suiting up for the Division 5 side. However, he didn’t last long there before he was quickly promoted up the divisions, finishing the year in the Division 1 side.
In 2018 Gilfedder took his game to the next level, and secured a permanent position in the Sydney University Premier Division side that would go onto compete in the Grand Final. Gilfedder had such a standout year for the Students that he was awarded the AFL Sydney Rising Star, and invited to join the 2019 NEAFL preseason.
Gilfedder grabbed the challenges of a state league preseason with both hands. “Preseason was great, but being new to the game, but skills weren’t the best, so I just focussed on my strengths which are pressure and defence”. Gilfedder’s dedication and drive impressed the NEAFL coaching panel and he earned himself a spot on the list.
Going from strength to strength at training each week, Gilfedder is loving his time in the NEAFL program.
“I’ve really enjoyed the professionalism of the NEAFL program; the intensity and competitiveness of it all. Each week the boys are competing for spots, with everyone striving for a collective goal”.
Gilfedder credits his understanding and knowledge of AFL to his Mum, Nicole, a Sydney Swans fanatic who had always been trying to convince him to pick up the game she loves.
“Mum has been trying to get me to play since I was about 8 years old, it’s always been her dream for me to play in the AFL”. It is safe to say that she is his number one fan, with Gilfedder saying “she doesn’t miss many of my games”.
Gilfedder is the 14th Student to make a NEAFL debut in 2019 and is relishing the opportunity before him,
“I’m excited to play with the people I’ve been training with for eight months, to be out of the field with some great players and even better blokes is amazing. I’m really appreciative to Morro [Senior Coach Tom Morrison] for giving me a shot, and I’m exciting to show what I can bring to the side”.