THREE-time North Ballarat Roosters premiership player Steve Clifton and North Ballarat Rebels graduate Kurt Aylett will make their AFL debuts with Greater Western Sydney on Sunday.
Each has battled through injury to earn selection. Clifton, who has been named on the ball, appeared set for an early season AFL debut after an impressive pre-season and being named an emergency by the Giants in the opening round.
Unfortunately for Clifton, he broke a scaphoid bone while playing with the GWS reserves.
Then after recovering from this setback, the 25-year-old suffered knee trouble. Aylett, 20, underwent a knee reconstruction in August last year and was removed from the Giants injury list in May.
Clifton, who played his junior football with Lake Wendouree before graduating to the North Ballarat Rebels and then the Roosters after missing out of being drafted as a teenager, is the latest in a string of success stories of mature-age recruits out of the VFL.
As well as being a multiple premiership player, he won the VFL best and fairest (JJ Liston Trophy) in 2010. Shortly after this, GWS used the number selection in the rookie draft to recruit Clifton.
Aylett, 20, is originally from Leeton in southern NSW. He played with the Rebels while a boarder at Ballarat Clarendon College.
Aylett was pre-listed by the Giants after the 2010 TAC Cup season.