Ben Cavarra had to wait 483 days before making his AFL debut in the opening round against Collingwood this season.
Taken as a mature-age recruit with pick 45 in the 2018 NAB AFL Draft, the former Williamstown VFL small forward arrived at the Kennel after being overlooked in five drafts.
With an injury-interrupted 2019, Cavarra says his first game was recognition of all the work he’s had to put in behind the scenes.
“Reflecting on the game, and thinking about the years I spent working hard to get to that moment – it’s something I’m pretty proud of,’’ the 24-year-old said.
“I just wanted to be reliable and predictable for my teammates through playing my role.
“If I could look at myself in the mirror at the end of the game and know I was the best teammate I could be, and that I played my role for the team, I’d be very happy.
“There’s still a lot more work to go, and a lot more games that I want to play for this footy club.”
Cavarra brushed off the nerves to convert for his first career goal with his first kick, crediting the coaching staff for their assistance.
“I’d done enough practice at training, and worked with ‘Gia’ (Daniel Giansiracusa) and Ash Hansen about my goalkicking, so all (I had to do) was just go back and do the routine that I always do,” he said.
“After that, the result takes care of itself.”
The Bulldogs’ first to fourth year players will return to training for a two-week block from Monday December 7, while all other players will resume training on Wednesday January 6, 2021.