Gold Coast SUNS Academy graduate Bodhi Uwland will make his AFL debut against the Sydney Swans at Heritage Bank Stadium on Saturday night.
The 2021 SUNS Academy Player of the Year earns his first opportunity at a senior level after being taken by the club as an Academy selection in the 2021 Rookie Draft.
Following a 2022 hampered by a fracture in his back, the versatile defender, who played his junior football for the Burleigh Bombers and senior football for the Broadbeach Cats, was overjoyed to be making his debut in front of family and friends at Heritage Bank Stadium on Saturday.
“I honestly can’t wait to run out on Saturday night, I’ve supported the SUNS my whole life so to be able to play my first AFL match at home in front of friends and family will be so special,” Uwland said.
“It hasn’t been an easy road to get here so I definitely won’t take it for granted, but I think it’s just great to prove to myself that all the hard work I’ve put in has paid off.”
The 19-year-old’s journey to his debut is a story of resilience, spending the entire 2022 season rehabilitating a stress reaction in his back.
Known for his intercepting, relentless pressure and defensive craft, Uwland impressed SUNS coaches throughout the club’s pre-season program and earned a start off the bench in the AFL practice match against GWS in early March.
“Bodhi has worked so hard for this opportunity and deserves to take his place in our Round 1 team,” GC SUNS Head of Development Rhyce Shaw said.
“We’ve been so impressed to see him go through what he did last year and come out the other side with such a hunger and determination to play AFL football.
“The way he applies himself to his craft and getting his body right typifies what we’re about as a club, and we can’t wait to see Bodhi pull on the jumper on the weekend.”
The GC SUNS season gets underway this Saturday night at Heritage Bank Stadium against the Sydney Swans. First bounce is at 7.00pm with tickets available through Ticketek.