By Mitch Terpstra/NEAFL Media
It's been a career built on reliable and consistent performances for defender Ben Halse as he notches his 100th NEAFL game with an on the rise Canberra Demons side this week.
The former GIANTS Academy member will become the latest player this year to join the illustrious 100 games club when his Demons side takes on Sydney University in a do-or-die match on Saturday.
Halse said that he was unaware of the achievement coming up but was thankful for his opportunities in the NEAFL as well as friendship he has made along the way.
“I didn’t even realise that the milestone had come up, the number of games had just been ticking along and you know you just keep playing footy for the love of the game and just playing with your mates,” Halse told neafl.com.au
“It’s definitely a pretty cool feeling, obviously very thankful for the club giving me the opportunity to play 100 games for them. I really couldn’t have done it without the support of the club, all of the staff and as well as my family and friends.
“Canberra is just such a fantastic club with the good bunch of mates and friendships that I have made along the way and I am really proud to be a part of it.“
Making his debut for the GIANTS as an academy member in 2013, Halse can remember the feeling many of his young teammates could be very familiar with.
“It was pretty exciting but also pretty daunting at the same time playing at this level,” Halse said.
“It was definitely something cool to play with some of those AFL listed blokes and just to see the way the they go about their footy and how they do it, it was pretty exciting at the time.”
The ability to play and line up against AFL-listed talent each week is the main driving force for Halse to play at this level, with one game in particular against former Sydney Swans and Adelaide Crows forward a memorable one.
“Just to compete against AFL listed players each week is a pretty cool aspect and you are able to test yourself against the best running around,” Halse said.
“One game that I played against Kurt Tippett in Canberra, and that was a pretty tough challenge just the pure size of the fella.
“It was a pretty cool challenge to go up against someone of his size and his skill.”
Even thogh he's only 24, Halse is seen as a veteran for Eastlake and Canberra football, playing for Eastlake from 2013 all the way to the formation of the Canberra Demons program in 2016.
It has been a hard road with little success in a building phase for the Demons, but Halse said it has been exciting to be a part of mentoring Canberra’s young group and their development and progression up the ladder.
“We didn’t have much success in those early days. We were lacking a bit with the results but just to see the young guys come in and to see everyone playing their roles it has been awesome to see,” Halse said.
“We have some really young players with some good talent on our list with blokes like Tommy Highmore, Angus Baker as two examples especially playing down back with them.
“It’s been pretty cool to see them grow and develop their game over the last couple of years, seeing them grow into some of the best young defenders especially for us and in the competition.”
“The growth of Canberra as a club has been fantastic and I am very proud to be a part of it.”