A decade after his first stint at an AFL club, Geelong forward James Podsiadly will this weekend play at the highest level for the first time at the ripe old age of 28.
Podsiadly will become one of the AFL’s oldest debutants of recent times when he takes his place at full-forward against Fremantle at Subiaco Oval on Sunday.
Podsiadly was last year recruited from the VFL by the Cats under the AFL’s new mature-age rookie rule, having spent time at Essendon in 2000 and Collingwood in 2002.
He was unable to crack senior games with either club, but Cameron Mooney’s suspension means Podsiadly will finally get his chance after getting the nod from coach Mark Thompson.
“Bomber (Thompson) grabbed me in the race and told me that I was playing – it was something that I never thought would happen,” Podsiadly told Geelong’s website.
“I feel like I prepared well over the summer and now the important thing is to take the opportunity and do whatever the team needs me to do.
“I can’t wait to get over there and play.”
While Podsiadly is unproven at AFL level, he has been a star in the VFL over the years. He has played more than 180 games and in 2008 won the Liston Trophy, the competition’s highest individual honour.
It is understood he will become the oldest AFL debutant since West Coast’s Troy Wilson first played in 2001 at age 29.
Geelong named an expanded squad for Sunday’s game, but will be without Mooney and full-back Matthew Scarlett, who were both suspended for incidents from last Monday’s win over Hawthorn.
Fremantle lost midfielder Garrick Ibbotson to a shoulder injury but named defender Chris Tarrant despite him rolling an ankle in the dying stages of last Sunday’s win over Essendon.
The Cats and Dockers are both unbeaten after two rounds.
The Hawks and the Western Bulldogs named expanded squads for Sunday’s big game at Docklands, but Bulldogs skipper Brad Johnson was again overlooked because of his calf soreness.
Hawthorn were also weakened by suspension through the losses of Michael Osborne and Liam Shiels, along with the absence of small forward Rhan Hooper (hamstring).