James Podsiadly has a bit of a head start on his peers when it comes to any butterflies which might be associated with joining a new club at a more senior age than most recruits.
Firstly, he’s done the football rounds over the years. Including his junior career, Adelaide becomes the seventh different club of any description for whom he’s played. And then there’s the matter of his deceptive birth certificate.
The former Geelong key forward might be 32, but in football years, has a profile a fair bit younger. Podsiadly didn’t even start playing the game seriously until the age of 17.
And as far as the wear and tear of AFL-standard football goes, there’s just four season’s worth. Compare that, say, with the similarly-aged but recently-retired St Kilda veteran Jason Blake, for whom 2013 was his 14th.
“I’ve got to go against the trend,” he conceded on Monday after a first training run with Adelaide’s younger list players. “I know physically and mentally I’m right, but just learning the game is where I think I can improve and take my game forward.
“I don’t know what a 32-year-old footballer is supposed to feel like, but from what I’ve been told I don’t feel like that. I’m not here to fill spots or fill numbers, I’m hopefully here to make an impact.”
And early indications are that Podsiadly will have every chance to do that. One of the key factors in the demise of Adelaide in 2013 was its inability to score enough, the Crows falling from a ranking of second for points scored in their top-four finish in 2012 to only ninth last season.
The hole left by the departure of Kurt Tippett was never adequately filled, the subsequent loss of Taylor Walker early in the season to a serious knee injury proving a fatal blow. And with Walker’s return date still uncertain and another key forward in Josh Jenkins recovering from ankle surgery, Podsiadly may end up playing much more than the 20-25 games coach Brenton Sanderson said he would over the duration of his two-year contract.
“The club could have a whole heap of injuries and if you’re not prepared to play 25 games after a pre-season you’re almost letting the team down,” Podsiadly said. “If it’s five, if it’s 10, if it’s 25 it doesn’t really affect me.
“I definitely wouldn’t have put my hand up and asked a club to give me a contract if I didn’t think I could play a full season. When the start of the season comes we play the NAB Challenge games, we’ll see where the side’s at and where my body’s at.”
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.