27 March 2023

Binya teenager Harry Rowston scores with first touch as family watches AFL debut in Perth

| Oliver Jacques
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Tome Greene with his arm around Harry Rowston

Giants player Tom Greene with Binya’s Harry Rowston. Photo: AFL Photos/GWS Giants.

Binya teenager Harry Rowston had a near-dream start to his AFL career, narrowly missing a goal with his first touch of the ball in his big league AFL debut for the Greater Western Sydney (GWS) Giants against the West Coast Eagles in Perth on Sunday (26 March).

After making the starting lineup in jumper number 24, vacated by retired legend Matt de Boer, midfielder Rowston secured his first possession in the seventh minute, taking a difficult angled shot from 40 metres out that shaded the left-hand upright for a one-point behind.

READ ALSO Binya boy stars in U18 AFL National Championships

“I was a little bit nervous before the game, but once warmed up, it was just like any other game. The nerves settled pretty quickly,” Rowston told Region.

Rowston is understood to be the first person who grew up in the Griffith area to play for a top-flight AFL team. When he scored his first behind, the Fox Sports network broadcast panned to his mother, Kirsty, in the crowd, who had flown to Perth with the rest of Harry’s family to be there for the match.

Kristy Rowston animated in the crowd

Kirsty Rowston reacts to Harry’s first touch. Image: Fox Sports.

She said it took a “whole village” to help make his son’s childhood dream come true at just 18 years of age.

“People in the cities have no idea of the distances we have to cover to get our children to sporting events,” she said. “Harry’s life is one ball of logistics … it’s incredible the number of sacrifices Harry’s had to make to achieve his dreams. He has missed so many events and 18th birthday celebrations.

“As parents, we have also had to make sacrifices to take him to games and watch him play. But we also need to thank other parents and those in our community who have helped him along the way.”

Rowston is a product of the Griffith Swans AFL team. His father, Phil, is a former Sydney Swans player, while his older brothers, Jack and Ben, have been long-term players for the Griffith club.

Overall, he took three kicks, one mark and four handballs in his AFL debut, which the Giants narrowly lost to the West Coast Eagles.

“It definitely wasn’t my best game of football, but I know I’ll keep improving with the experience … it was awesome to have my mum and dad there to watch. They’ve always supported me,” he said.

Harry Rowston with number 24 jersey and family

Harry Rowston with family and friends before his AFL debut. Photo: AFL Photos/GWS Giants.

He was first told he’d be making his AFL debut by Giants captain Toby Greene on Friday (23 March).

“You’ve come in from day one and made an impression straight away … the way you went about your pre-season was A1, especially from a first-year guy. You’ve earned your spot, you’ve played well the last few weeks, can’t wait to have you come to Perth and get into it,” Green told Rowston.

READ ALSO Murrumbidgee Regional High School year 12 graduate to trial with NRL club Melbourne Storm

Rowston was selected in the AFL draft by the Giants in November 2022, soon after he played a starring role in the Under 18 AFL National Championships. He had been named most valuable player for the Allies (a combined NSW, ACT, Tasmania, Queensland and Northern Territory team) after his four matches against South Australia, Victoria Country, Victoria Metro and Western Australia.

The GWS Giants’ next match is against Carlton on Saturday, 1 April, at the Giants Stadium in Sydney.

“I came into this match due to a few injuries, so will wait to see if I’m in the lineup for next week,” Harry said.

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