OLLIE Florent burst onto the scene with the Sydney Swans in 2017.
He set himself the goal of appearing in one first team match by the end of the season, but an early season injury crisis saw him line up against Port Adelaide in round one.
The 19-year-old conceded his debut match for the club was a bit of a blur.
But he did remember walking onto the hallowed turf of the Sydney Cricket Ground.
“I remember being in the race and hearing the roar as the Swans song came on,” he said.
“I was very nervous before I ran out there and once I got onto the ground I was running around a bit like a headless chook.”
Florent then gained his first touch which was a pass to Sam Reid who kicked the goal and his first grade career was underway despite a 28-point loss.
“We had a few boys injured early so I was lucky to play my first game then, but you need to earn your spot every week,” he said.
The 2016 Swans first draft pick then went on to play another eight matches in 2017, the last of which was in their 67-point win over Gold Coast in round 16.
Almost 12 months on, Florent wants to become a regular member of the Swans and has added some strings to his bow.
Nothing comes easy at the Swans; it’s a very hard team to break into.Ollie Florent
Instead of being a midfielder, he can also play in the forward line.
“You need to be able to play multiple roles so I’ll be happy to even just start this year,” he said.
Florent kicked four goals for the Swans last season and knows the challenge now will be to make an impression around the top squad as he recovers from a quadriceps injury.
“My next goal is to cement my spot in the team and I hope I’m not far from there now, but I’ve got to keep getting better and not just expect anything,” he said.
“Nothing comes easy at the Swans; it’s a very hard team to break into because you’ve got to play consistent football,” he said.
“You’ve got to have the trust of the players to go out and perform week, in week out so to get that respect is something every player wants.”
Florent and Ben Ronke were in Port Macquarie on Tuesday afternoon as part of the Swans pre-season community engagement program.
He believes the visits are important for the growth of the game in regional areas.
“I remember being in primary school and I was lucky that my dad knew a lot of ex-AFL players so I was lucky to talk to them about what they did and their professionalism within a sport,” Florent said.
It’s hard to get into the team, but it’s harder to stay there because you’ve got to play consistent football.Ollie Florent
“I’d listen to them and take it all in, so to come here and (do a similar thing) with these young kids is pretty important for us.”
The teenager will look to break back into the Swans team for the round one fixture against West Coast at Optus Stadium on March 25.
While Florent hasn’t set any season goals, he wants to be a consistent performer.
“I’m not putting any expectations on myself,” he said.
“I just want to do my best and try and get a few games early, but try and train well and do all the little things right outside of all the on-field things.
“It’s going to be a new year; we’re putting 2017 in the past and we’re better for it.”