Emerging GWS Giants forward James Stewart gets the chance this weekend to show Collingwood what they missed when they opted not to draft him under the AFL’s father-son rule.
The son of former Magpies key-position player Craig Stewart, 21-year-old James was drafted by GWS with pick 27 of the 2012 draft.
A Collingwood fan in his boyhood, Stewart went goalless in his first AFL game against the Magpies in Sydney late last season, but on Sunday will play against them at the MCG for the first time.
He has kicked nine goals in seven games this season, including seven in his past four appearances.
He was philosophical about being overlooked by the team he supported as a kid.
“I came into that with the analogy that one door was shut and I was hoping that potentially 17 others open,” Stewart told AAP.
“Whichever one was to call my name out at the draft I’d put my best foot forward.
“I’m so far loving my time here I’ve really warmed to the city as well.
“It was a bit of a blessing in disguise looking back now. Being able to move to Sydney all happened very quickly.
“To move away from my family and friends has enabled me to really focus on football, work really hard and also develop some skills outside of footy and become quite independent, so it’s worked in a number of ways.”
He is proving to be a valuable member of a blossoming three-pronged tall forward combination with Jeremy Cameron and Cam McCarthy.
“We are creating a good mix, we’re all quite different in the way we play,” Stewart said.
“We’re starting to build some chemistry between the three of us and been able to lead to different spots and block for each other.”
The 198cm youngster is also adding value as a backup ruckman to reigning Giants best and fairest Shane Mumford.
“It’s definitely been a different challenge,” Stewart said.
“I haven’t done any ruck really previously throughout my juniors.
“It’s a small facet of my game at the moment where I can help ‘Mummy’ out and give him a breather and add on top of my forward play.
“It’s come as a bit of a surprise and maybe I can build towards potentially playing more game-time in the ruck.”