Darwin product Joel Jeffrey says channelling childhood memories was the key behind two sparkling displays in his home city in 2022.
Jeffrey is one of eight SUNS players with links to the Territory who will be returning home this weekend as the SUNS host a Sir Doug Nicholls Round AFL and VFL double header at TIO Stadium against the Western Bulldogs and its affiliate Footscray
Jeffrey lit up TIO Stadium in 2022 with a goal in each of the SUNS two games at the venue, including a Goal of the Year nomination, and says for it all came from playing like he did as a kid in very familiar surroundings.
“Home always feels the same for me,” Jeffrey said.
“I remember playing on that field as a kid and that’s what I tried to think about, me as a kid running around. It helped me play well up there last year.
“Growing up playing at TIO, I remember last year I was in shock; I did not think I’d ever be playing an AFL game on home soil.
“It gave me goosebumps and I’m very grateful for that experience.”
Once again, the 21-year-old is expecting to have plenty of familiar faces in the crowd on Saturday to kick off a busy week for the SUNS.
The squad will be immersing itself in the Territory communities following Saturday night’s game as part of an 11-day stay in the region.
“Last year I had 30-something tickets to organise. I’m expecting it to be around the same this time,” he added.
“Throughout the week the community engagement will be great for the boys who haven’t been up there before to experience what we did as kids.”
The versatile tall has played four AFL matches so far in 2023, recently playing a role in defence in Josh Drummond’s VFL side.
He’s hoping continued consistent performances will give him further opportunities at AFL level.
“I’ve been playing consistent football in the VFL so fingers crossed I can get an opportunity.”
Saturday’s double header gets underway at 3pm with the SUNS VFL squad taking on Footscray before the AFL match at 6.55pm.