Callan Ward’s memory of his history-making goal for Greater Western Sydney is fresh in his mind.
Partly because Ward recently watched a replay of the club’s inaugural game against Sydney in 2012, when the hard-nosed midfielder became the first Giant to kick an AFL major.
The co-captain will line up for his 100th match for GWS at Adelaide Oval on Sunday, having played 99 of 104 possible games to date.
More remarkable than the number is the fact he’ll do so for a side in the top four and destined for a maiden finals berth – an unfathomable thought four short years ago when they copped far worse wallopings than that opening 63-point loss to the Swans.
Ward was 21 then and had boldly moved from the Western Bulldogs as one of the Giants’ first established player signings.
“The first year I got here we hardly had any changerooms and we were getting smashed every week,” said Ward, who earned the 2012 best and fairest honour.
“It was really hard to back up on a Monday and come to training with a smile on your face.
“In that first year we had so many 18-year-olds, especially in that first game it felt like I was playing with a bunch of kids.
“And I was 21 and trying to be co-captain of a footy club.
“So to play 100 games is something I’ll forever be proud of.
“It’s just amazing to see how far the boys had come.”
Ward’s leadership will be needed against ninth-placed Port Adelaide, who are not yet out of finals reckoning after Ken Hinkley’s side did a convincing job on North Melbourne last weekend.
The Giants are back in fourth thanks to their 79-point win over lowly Brisbane.
They’ll be looking to stay there and prove the upset loss to Collingwood a fortnight ago was an anomaly.
“This is probably the most finals-like game we’ve come across in the last month or two,” Ward said.
“Port Adelaide are playing some really good, tough footy, which is what we like to play against.
“I think they’re really right to get us and they’ll start hard early.”