It’s a good thing Fergus Greene doesn’t take no for an answer.
Despite being constantly overlooked for pathway programs as a junior footballer, the athletic forward never gave up on his dream and on Sunday his hard work and persistence will be rewarded when he makes his AFL debut for the Western Bulldogs.
After a string of good performances for Footscray in the VFL, Greene was named in a forward pocket for the Bulldogs for Sunday’s game with Port Adelaide in Ballarat.
“It’s reward for a lot of hard work he’s put in,’’ a proud Chris Greene said of his son Fergus on Thursday night.
“He’s had his detractors along the way, so it’s great to see him get a game.
“It’s super exciting and as a family we’re very excited.”
Greene, 20, burst into AFL National Draft calculations when he dominated school matches for Catholic College Bendigo in early 2016.
His form with CCB and BFNL club Sandhurst caught the eye of Rural Bank Bendigo Pioneers’ talent manager Steve Sharp and he added Greene to the Pioneers’ list as an over-age player.
“Ferg had a navicular bone injury in 2015 and then he came back in 2016 and played some really good footy early in the year,’’ Sharp recalled on Thursday night.
“There were a few things that really stood out for me. Firstly, he was a great kid. Footy wise he was an elite endurance runner, he had good hands, he was good below his knees and he was a beautiful kick.
“Ferg’s story is a great story for all young kids. He’s shown that there are opportunities there for you if you keep working hard.
“It’s great for Ferg and his family and it’s a great story for Bendigo football.”
Greene played five games in the TAC Cup in the second-half of 2016, including a best on ground performance in the final round of the season against Gippsland.
The Bulldogs swooped late in the draft with selection 70.
Injuries restricted Greene to eight VFL games last year. This season he has been a shining light in Footscray’s VFL season, kicking 18 goals in 14 matches, including seven in his past two games.
“All credit to the Western Bulldogs, he (Fergus) is not the player he was when he left Bendigo,’’ Chris Greene said.
“In the last couple of years he’s improved in so many areas.”
Greene is the fifth Bendigo Pioneers product to make his AFL debut this year, joining Carlton duo Paddy Dow and Lochie O’Brien, West Coast’s Jarrod Brander and GWS small forward Brent Daniels.
Another Pioneers’ draftee – Castlemaine’s Kane Farrell – could also make his debut in the same game as Greene on Sunday.
Farrell was named on Port Adelaide’s extended interchange bench.