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Stoddart thrilled with opportunity

Zachary Gates  May 24, 2018 6:30 PM

Stoddart Debut - May 24th, 2018 Young gun Ryley Stoddart is set to make his debut for the Swans in round 10 against the Lions.

When Sydney coach John Longmire met young gun Ryley Stoddart in the weights room on Thursday, the first-year Swan wasn’t expecting to make his AFL debut two days later.

But the 18-year-old would soon be told exactly that and will play his first senior game when Sydney meets the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba on Saturday afternoon.

“John came up to me and said to come up and see him after weights,” Stoddart said.

“So I went, he took me into the development office, he shook my hand and said ‘congratulations, you’re playing your first AFL game this week’.

“I didn’t think that’s what John wanted me for because I had had some other wording that I probably wouldn’t play this week. Then when I got into the office and there were a few coaches in there and I thought I might be a chance. But it wasn’t until John told me that I was certain.”

The speedster was “stunned” and jumped on the phone to his parents at the earliest chance.

“It’s such a good feeling,” Stoddart said.

“It’s something I’ve been working towards for such a long time. I was lost for words and still am.

“Mum and dad were super-excited. Dad was really up and about and mum almost started crying. It’s really good to do them proud. They’ve put so much hard work and effort into me.”

Stoddart signed with the Swans at the 2017 National Draft through pick 53 last November.

He joined Sydney from the Eastern Ranges in the TAC Cup after impressing with blistering speed, his ability in traffic and neat skills off the boot.

His ability to play a number of positions was another highlight and his running vertical jump of 98 centimetres ranked second at the Draft Combine.

Stoddart last week signed a one-year contract extension after just four games in the NEAFL and said ahead of another special moment his time at the Swans had been “unbelievable”.

“I’m so lucky to be at a club like the Swans,” Stoddart said.

“They’ve given me the opportunity to live out my dream. I was lucky enough to sign an extension with them last week and they put a lot of faith into me there and have done so again in giving me my AFL debut this week.

“John has told me to use my smarts to get in the structure and then just play footy. He said to just use your speed and run, run, run. Do what you do best – run.

“Adrenaline will carry me through and I can’t wait.”

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