Snap Shot is a weekly column taking a look at the lighter side of football.
Collingwood’s Trent Bianco took one of the strangest routes imaginable to play in his first win with the Magpies in Adelaide on Saturday.
A club mascot in 2010 when he ran through banner with the Magpies, he was drafted to the club he supported after the captaining Oakleigh Chargers to a flag in 2019.
Trent Bianco celebrates a goal with Collingwood team mates Josh Daicos and Scott Pendlebury during the clash with the Crows at the Adelaide Oval.Credit:Getty Images
But he had to wait until May 8, 2021 to appear in Collingwood colours in a contest for premiership points after spending last season playing scratch matches in a Queensland hub and then being injured this pre-season.
Steele Sidebottom takes a shot on goal at the Adelaide Oval.Credit:Getty Images
That first game was a VFL match at Magpies’ mecca, Victoria Park, and then his second VFL game was a curtain closer at the SCG against Sydney.
His dream was realised after those two games when he was named to make his debut in round 11 against Geelong. But Victoria’s lockdown meant his family could not be at the MCG to watch him.
Steele Sidebottom, who helped him through the banner in 2010, presented Bianco with his jumper, while his Magpie-mad family watched the occasion unfold in the MCG rooms over Zoom. Bianco ran off the bench to get his first touch in an empty MCG.
If that wasn’t strange enough, the Magpies were then sent into lockdown at a South Yarra hotel on Friday night before heading to Adelaide to play the Crows, with Bianco part of a pre-match routine no-one at the Magpies had encountered before.
After passing a COVID test, the Magpies were up at 6am to leave their hotel just after 7.30am to catch a chartered flight from Melbourne to Adelaide, where they were bundled on to a bus waiting on the tarmac.
Each person, including players, then had to show photo ID to South Australian authorities before heading straight to Adelaide Oval, where they were directed to the indoor cricket nets inside the stadium which had 40 bean bags, a few tables, and an urn to keep them comfortable from 10.30am.
After receiving another negative COVID result, they moved to the rooms at 2pm to begin their warm up for the 4.35pm game.
Bianco must have felt like he was in an alternate universe as he watched the NBA playoffs on his phone as others tried to read, or sleep, or play cricket to pass the time, with the delivery of chicken and vegetable packs for lunch the most welcome distraction in the wait.
Somehow, he kept his mind on the job to kick a crucial goal at the 17-minute mark of the third quarter – his first in AFL football – to arrest Adelaide’s momentum and cement his spot as a Collingwood fan favourite with 16 touches.
It was a lead-up that made the old trick of ensuring the visitors rooms had cold showers look tame by comparison.
On Monday, Bianco will play just his fifth match in Magpies colours – his third AFL game – against Melbourne on Queen’s Birthday…at, yep, the SCG, a venue, believe it or not, he has played at before.
All Snap Shot has to say is: Enjoy the bye, Bianco.
Devon Conway poses with his man of the match award after the first Test against England at Lord’s.Credit:Getty Images
A ton of connections to Melbourne
It’s not hard to find AFL connections to sporting events around the world, with Snap Shot taking particular interest in New Zealand opening batsman Devon Conway’s double century on debut at Lord’s last week.
Conway was the third non-Englishman to make a century on debut at Lord’s, joining India’s Sourav Ganguly (1996) and Australia’s Harry Graham (1893) as those who have achieved that feat.
Graham not only played Test cricket for Australia but played two matches for Melbourne in rounds nine and 10 in 1900, helping them to wins over Essendon and Carlton, having been a star footballer in the VFA in the early 1890s.
His teammates at Lord’s included Norwood’s George Giffen, who watched the man they called ‘The Little Dasher’ peel off 107 from the sidelines.
Sadly, according to reports at the time, Graham died in 1911 in New Zealand, having been hospitalised with mental illness. However, no one can take away his record of being the first man to make a 100 on debut at Lord’s.
Amid lockdown’s gloom, Beaumaris Football Club had every reason to celebrate after last week’s mid-season rookie draft when two of their former players, Jacob Edwards and Max Heath, were picked up inside the first seven selections by North Melbourne and St Kilda respectively.
The pair were grinning away in a team photo for the under 9s back in 2011 as they made their way through the junior ranks on to an AFL list, with some old-stagers at the club saying they had never seen a player’s football improve as quickly as Edwards’ once he began to grow during his teenage years.
The pair played 230 games between them at Beaumaris and add to a pretty handy list of former players now on AFL/AFLW rosters, including Jack Gunston, Jack Scrimshaw, Ollie Florent, Joel Amartey, and Kate Hore among others.
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