Paul Gallen’s first foray onto the football field was when he was four and acting as the sand boy for the Wests Magpies reserve grade team.
The boy, who would grow to become one of the code’s most inspirational players, needed only a short run to win over the Lidcombe Oval crowd – but may have put the Wests kicker off in the process after he tripped, tilted the bucket and left a trail of sand from the sideline to the goalkicker.
”My old man [Garry] was the trainer for Wests reserves and I was the team’s sand boy,” Gallen recalled. ”My earliest footy memory was running the sand out, falling over and spilling the stuff … a lot of people thought it was funny.
”I was only the sand boy for reserve grade, never made first grade. But that’s my earliest memory of league.
”As for playing as a kid, I remember getting in my dad’s car when I was five or so and I asked where we were headed. He said, ‘You’re going to play footy.’ That was it, played ever since.”
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