‘I needed to be playing AFL football’: Grundy ready to ruck in Sydney

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New Sydney Swans ruckman Brodie Grundy has always found meaning in the diverse aspects of his life.

He excels academically, completing a Bachelor of Health Science and is finishing an MBA; he appreciates art and has always loved his job as a professional footballer.

He never once took his career for granted, but after a challenging season when he struggled to nail his place in Melbourne’s gameplan, he realised just how much playing in the AFL every week meant to him.

“I actually really enjoyed my time at Melbourne,” Grundy said. “But the engagement in my football suffered because I wasn’t where I wanted to be and therefore my well-being was challenged as well.

“So I wasn’t really flourishing in terms of my footy, despite coming in and training and having the nine-to-five that I really love, the two hours on the weekend when I was playing VFL became a real source of feedback that told me how important and how much weighting I put on the game.

“When that was not engaging me, I just felt like I needed to be playing AFL football.”

New signing Brodie Grundy brings strong leadership to the Swans.Credit: Edwina Pickles

Could he have envisioned things working out so differently at Melbourne when he joined after 10 seasons at Collingwood?

“It’s just really boiling it down to strategic fit,” Grundy said. “I went to a club that had a six-time All-Australian (Max Gawn), an incredible leader and, honestly, a really great person.

Brodie Grundy with Max Gawn at Melbourne.Credit: Getty Images

“It worked at times and it was good at times, but yeah, it became clear that the strategic fit wasn’t there and I’m not immune to seeing reality and can stomach that once I really came to terms that things had changed and things weren’t panning out the way I wanted.

“If you become too fixed and anchored on your perception and your reality of what you want, and not actually reframing things into how they are actually unfolding, you’re going to have a pretty tough time so I just tried to turn up.

“At the end of the day. I was employed by Melbourne to go in and challenge Max and try and make the team better and I think I did that.”

When it was clear that he was leaving Melbourne, Grundy held a meeting with Swans chief executive Tom Harley and coach John Longmire that quickly convinced him to move to Sydney ahead of a potential move home near family with Port Adelaide.

“I just felt so connected from a values piece,” Grundy said. “It felt just really aligned and I think that’s the goal of any career or any job or any pursuit that you’re doing.

“We walked out of that meeting, me and Rachael, my partner, and we just looked at each other and we were like that was really, really cool. And zooming into football specifics, there was a real need for me as a player [in Sydney] and the sort of player that I am and they liked my competitiveness.

Brodie Grundy on his first day at the Sydney Swans this week.Credit: Edwina Pickles

“My follow up work, my contested work and that’s obviously a strength of mine and something that I want to really put on a show in the small-sided SCG ground. They were obviously really singing my praises a bit in that interview, and that was really nice. I just felt like it was hand in glove from the first meeting.”

Grundy has moved into an apartment in North Bondi and is looking forward to swimming in the sea when the sun comes up before training. He envisions no change off the field in terms of getting recognised by fans in Sydney.

“I don’t probably put myself in situations where that really happens to me that much,” Grundy laughed. “In Melbourne, I lived out in the burbs and, you know, I just spend a lot of time at home and I’m a pretty chilled out sort of a guy.

“Like, I don’t really go out too much, without being you know, a recluse. I just sort of like my time kicking back and maybe I just got a little bit immune to it, but maybe I’m going come here and be thinking oh shit, no one actually notices me at all and I’ll feel forgotten about but that’s a good problem to have.”

Alongside exploring his new city, including its best coffee and surf spots, Grundy is determined to have a strong impact on a club that will need to heavily lean on his experience after the retirement of Tom Hickey.

“I’m looking forward to bringing some of my experience and imparting that on a young team,” Grundy said. “Obviously off the field but then also on the field, maximising my strengths as a player and helping my teammates be the best player they can be as well.

“I think through these transition periods and through these changes, I’ve had immense success just personally on myself and just learning about what it means to be a professional athlete and a person … I’ve learned a lot about myself, and I think that will become really useful when I’m playing next year.”

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