It’s not every day you find out you’ll be wearing the AFL guernsey of the player you idolised as a child.
But for new Crow Shane McAdam, receiving the No. 23, made famous by Club legend Andrew McLeod, is about more than just seeing his AFL dreams come true.
It’s about pride, and honouring those who have worn it before him.
“I feel so privileged… obviously 23 has been worn by McLeod and a lot of great Indigenous players before me,” he said.
“It gives me a lot of pride… everyone watched McLeod growing up – he won every award there is.”
He may have big shoes to fill but the 23-year-old is prepared to seize the opportunity before him.
“As much as I want to make other players who have worn it proud, I also want to make it my own now and make the most of the opportunity,” he said.
FUN FACTS:Get to know Shane McAdam
McAdam will become the fourth-consecutive Indigenous player to don the number for Adelaide, following in the footsteps of former Crows Jared Petrenko and Charlie Cameron.
In his first two weeks of pre-season, McAdam said he has taken enormous comfort from the support of his Indigenous teammates.
“Wayne [Milera] has been great these last couple of weeks, really supporting me through training and giving me advice,” he said.
“It’s been great to learn with Tyson too and I’m really looking forward to players like Eddie and Cam coming back next week – I’ve been talking to Eddie lots over the phone and he’s been great to me.”
TIME TRIAL: Milera leads the way
McAdam said his major focuses this pre-season were improving his fitness, building on his strength, and getting to know all the boys.
“It’s been good to meet them in bits as a lot of the older boys have been coming out over the past two weeks so I’m getting to know everyone slowly which has helped me,” he said.
“I think it’s important for a team to get along well and the boys have been great so far.”
Proud to see another Indigenous player take ownership of the number, Andrew McLeod said he had no doubt McAdam would leave his own mark on No. 23.
“I thoroughly enjoy seeing new Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander players come to the Crows,” he said.
“Shane follows a line of custodians who have worn the number 23 and I’m sure, like them, he’ll leave his own personal mark and have a great impact on our Club.”
Fellow recruit Tyson Stengle will take No. 17 after the retirement of Curtly Hampton during the 2018 season.
Stengle joins former No. 17 owners Sam Kerridge, who wore the number for 15 of his 27 games at the Club, and Club Champion Bernie Vince who wore it for six seasons before him.
The numbers of Adelaide’s six new draftees will be announced on Wednesday.