Crook Earns National Selection in Foreign Sport

A 25-year-old carpenter from the Central Coast will make his AFL debut at Spotless Stadium on Saturday when the GIANTS take on Collingwood.

Article courtesy of GWS Giants Website

Daniel Lloyd was told on Wednesday that he’d play his long-awaited first game, following more than a season on the club’s rookie list.

“It was a special moment,” he told GIANTS TV.

“I had no idea when Leon announced it in the meeting that I was debuting so it was a special moment.

“It’s a good occasion for me and my family, it’s an exciting time and I just can’t wait to be out on the field on Saturday.”

When he was just 15, Lloyd - from Killarney Vale on NSW’s Central Coast - signed with the Western Bulldogs on a NSW Scholarship after being spotted at a local carnival.

He spent four years training in Melbourne with the club during the school holidays, but it didn’t work out and he returned home and took up a carpentry apprenticeship following school.

More than five years after that disappointment, he was shocked when GIANTS Assistant Coach Mark McVeigh approached him after a game in the Black Diamond League and asked him to come to Sydney and try out.

“Our relationship started when I was about 20, 21,” Lloyd said.

“He used to just pop his head into the club every now and then, he never really said much to me but he just had his eye there for a number of years.

“He just approached me one afternoon after a game and said there was an opportunity here.

“We have a great relationship, he’s a great mentor, he’s taught me a lot and it’s thanks to him I’m in this position because he gave me a chance. I’m forever grateful for that.”

Lloyd got time off work, began pre-season with the GIANTS and when the Rookie Draft came around, he was selected by the club with pick 26.

“It’s been a great journey, it’s a different pathway than a lot of AFL footballers take. I was rapt last year that I got the opportunity last year to be on the rookie list and I think I’ve just taken it week by week and worked hard.

“The club’s been great, they’ve helped me grow and develop in all aspects of the game and life so I think it’s just been a great journey from there until now and now my AFL journey is just beginning.”

While it was the opportunity of a lifetime and one many dream of, there were still other considerations for Lloyd.

He was 23 at the time, with a two-year-old son and a daughter just 10 weeks old. But with now-wife Crystal’s support, they made the move to Sydney permanently and

“It was a exciting opportunity that I was presented with and I had no hesitation in taking it,” he said.

“The toughest thing was taking my family away from home but we settled into Sydney well, the club’s been great and looking back I wouldn’t change any decisions to date.

“Crystal’s been on this journey with me, and my two kids. It’s just as much of an achievement for her as it it for me. She gets a lot of pride and joy out of this as well, she’s been a great support.”

Crystal works at the club part-time and GIANTS TV were there as her husband told her their dream had come true.

“She never once second-guessed the decision to come here. It was a great moment telling her, she got a bit emotional but we’re just excited and ready for this Saturday and what’s to come.”

WATCH: INSIDE THE GIANTS - Daniel Lloyd to Debut http://www.gwsgiants.com.au/video/2017-05-11/inside-the-giants

Killarney Vale Bombers’ 2015 Best and Fairest will have plenty of support in the crowd when he runs out on to Spotless Stadium on Saturday, with plenty of Lloyd’s former teammates set to make the trip down the highway to cheer on the the guy who once kicked nine goals in a semi-final for them.