Campbelltown teenager Nick Shipley is ready to make giant strides on the footy field this year.
After getting a taste of AFL last year, Shipley hopes to consolidate his spot in the GWS Giants line-up.
The 19-year-old played two AFL games before an ankle injury proved a setback in the second half of the season.
Shipley told the Advertiser that he had fully recovered and felt fit as he prepared for the upcoming season, kicking off in March.
“That injury stung a bit, but it means I need to start again this year,” the talented midfielder said.
“I’m lucky to have got through this pre-season without injury.”
Shipley grew up in Macarthur and played some junior football at the Camden Blues before switching to Kellyville.
He made history when he became the first Campbelltown player to be selected by the Giants in 2017.
GWS selected Shipley with pick 64 in the AFL draft.
Shipley made his AFL debut against the Brisbane Lions last April, finishing with seven disposals and a goal as the Giants secured victory.
The Campbelltonian managed just one disposal the following week in his side’s loss to Geelong Cats.
Shipley said it was a huge step up in the AFL playing against stars like Patrick Dangerfield (Geelong) and Dayne Zorko (Brisbane).
“It was very fast-paced and you were up against some strong, older bodies,” he said.
“The night before both games, I thought about being up against guys like Dangerfield and Zorko.
“But once I got on the field, it was all about doing what I needed to do for my club.”
Shipley said he loved his first taste of AFL action.
“My goal this year is to not just play more games, but have a real impact and put together a strong season,” he said.
Shipley returned home yesterday (Thursday, February 7) to help run a junior training clinic with Ingleburn Magpies juniors at Memorial Oval.
Shipley said he was always well supported by Macarthur locals.
“When I played those two AFL games, I had kids from Campbelltown come up afterwards and have a chat,” he said.
“It always feels good to come back to Campbelltown and give back to the community.”
Magpies club president Shannon Prenter said local juniors were stoked to meet Shipley.
“He shows the kids that they can go all the way in the AFL – the opportunities are there,” he said.