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Out of the Schade, into the SUNS

SUNS TV: Henry Schade GC SUNS defender Henry Schade speaks with SUNS TV ahead of his AFL debut this Saturday in QClash 9
Henry Schade of the Suns in action during the 2015 NAB Challenge Week 1 match between the Gold Coast Suns and the Geelong Cats at Tony Ireland Stadium, Townsville on March 01, 2015. (Photo: Sean Garnsworthy/AFL Media)
I was a bit shocked and pretty surprised. It was a good way to find out.
GC SUNS defender, Henry Schade

Henry Schade has been forced to wait longer than any other player in the Gold Coast SUNS history to earn a debut. But the wait is finally over for the persistent key defender, who has emerged from anonymity in recent months to force the selectors' hand.

The quietly spoken Tasmanian has drawn widespread plaudits within the four walls of Metricon Stadium, with a handful of coaches praising his progress during the pre-season.

Schade can’t quite put his finger on the catalyst behind his improvement, but an appetite for hard work has certainly paid dividends with a debut against the Brisbane Lions on Saturday night a just reward for his perseverance.

“I’m not really sure I can put it down to one thing. I’ve just tried to work as hard as I can and things have just started to click for me. And now I’ve got an opportunity,” Schade told SUNS TV on Thursday afternoon.

Rather than making a song and dance, Gold Coast coach Rodney Eade surprised Schade by informing him of his selection during a team meeting on Tuesday morning. The time between the news and the game providing Schade with ample time to prepare for the biggest game of his life.

“I found out on Tuesday, we had a team meeting prior to training. We were just talking about the weekend coming up and how important it is for us.

“He (Eade) spoke about a few things and he quickly we mentioned in the meeting that I was playing my first game. I was a bit shocked and pretty surprised. It was a good way to find out,” Schade said.

The tall key post played in the opening NAB Challenge game against Geelong in Townsville, performing well on Tom Hawkins and Mitch Clark before suffering an ankle injury.

Consistent efforts in the NEAFL, along with that encouraging effort against the Cats, have earned Schade a spot this weekend. The 22-year-old admits his start to the season has instilled confidence ahead of his debut.

“It’s good to have a few games under my belt coming into the game, obviously trying to get as much confidence as a I can being my first game,” Schade said.

“It’s going to be a big mental battle as much as physical, so I’m looking forward to the challenge.

“Obviously it was only NAB Cup so it’s going to be another level above this weekend. It does give me a little bit of confidence.”