By Justin Robertson
ALL of his hard work and long nights spent training has paid off.
Pakenham Upper’s Tom Bugg is ecstatic about pulling on the new Greater Western Sydney (GWS) jumper – and he’s hoping to be a part of the action when they run through the banner for the first time in round one 2012.
“It’s an amazing opportunity and it’s exciting,” Tom said. “I’m looking forward to playing at the highest level, as well as moving to a new city. It’s going to be a great experience.”
GWS recruitment manager, Neville Stibbard, called the former Beaconsfield junior in June to see if he was interested in playing for the fledgling club. For Tom, it seemed to be an obvious: it was a chance to play AFL.
“That was the unofficial agreement between myself and GWS,” the 17-year-old said. “Of course I said yes, but from there I concentrated on my footy for Caulfield and Gippsland until a few weeks ago when it became official.”
Team GWS has two Northern Territory kids on its books, as well as six boys from their NSW zone, with Bugg number seven on the list of a dozen 17-year-olds the club can sign up.
The biggest decision for Tom was where to finish his final year of school. After a few trips to Sydney and interviews at local schools, he and his family sat down for a chat.
Mum Kerry said the final decision was made by Tom.
“Look, it was up to him in the end,” she said. “He could have gone up to Sydney this year and finish his schooling there, but we had a chat and he decided to stay here. I’m just glad all that time and effort paid off for him,” Kerry said.
Tom will leave Melbourne at the end of Year 12 and start training with GWS, hoping to press for selection and be picked in the NAB Cup series.
“Straight after exams finish this time next year I’ll head north and join the rest of the boys for pre-season,” the former Gippsland Power utility said.
“It’s good to head to a place where we can make our own history. So it would be good to be a part of the first game. It will definitely be a memory I will cherish.”
By Justin Robertson