McGrath glad he stayed put in Brisbane - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

McGrath glad he stayed put in Brisbane

By Darren Cartwright 14/07/2010 02:20:14 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane AFL defender Ash McGrath once thought of bailing on the Lions and heading west until he reflected on the career of his former teammate and Fremantle forward Des Headland and thought - best not.

McGrath, who lines up for his 150th game against Hawthorn in Launceston on Saturday, says the reason he didn't leave the Lions and head home to Perth was because of Headland's record since leaving the Lions at the end of 2002 to play for the Dockers.

"There was a time there, maybe a couple of years ago, where I was pretty sure I was going to leave the club and try and better my career somewhere else," McGrath said.

"I thought, sitting down with my partner, I would stick it out for one more year and I am glad I did because my footy has really turned around and I have really enjoyed playing with this team.

"I look back at Dessie Headland where he wanted to go home and I was in the same boat.

"He's gone home and his footy has kind of struggled and I stuck it out and never been so happy here.

"I didn't want to take the easy way out."

Taken as a lively midfielder in the first round of the 2000 national draft, McGrath could not have picked a worse - or better - time to arrive at the Lions.

The Lions were chock full of talent - three premierships and four straight grand final appearances were to follow - and senior appearances had to be hard fought for, although he was a member of the 2003 flag-winning outfit.

Not only was McGrath's decision to stay with the Lions because of Headland - a former No.1 draft pick and 2002 premiership player - his first AFL experience was also because of the Docker.

"Early in my career with the team going so well I played only three minutes in my first year," McGrath said.

"I was lucky Des Headland came off with cramp so I got my first three minutes of AFL."

Having travelled a 10-season road to reach 150 games, McGrath said he was achieving things he'd once only ever dreamt of and 200 matches was achievable.

"It (150 games) means 10 years of hard work and I didn't think I was going to get here but it's finally come around," McGrath said.

"I finally get to be a life member of this footy club which I never thought in a million years would come."

There's another far more important milestone on the horizon for McGrath and one he is looking to more than his 150th or 200th game put together.

The 27-year-old and his partner Amanda Bottrell are expecting their first child in October.

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