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Matt Egan NYC debut.

HALF TIME WITH MATT: A taste of the big league

Last week was a big step towards achieving my football goals.

I had the honour of making my NYC debut for the Melbourne Storm Thunderbolts in New Zealand against the Warriors.

The week didn’t start out well for me though. Gastro sidelined me for most of the week and I couldn’t train until Thursday. So it was very unexpected that I got the call up Friday morning that I’d be travelling with the team to NZ.

To reach one of my goals and make the starting side so early in the season was very humbling. I was nervous immediately.

We started our journey early Saturday morning (4am) to travel to Auckland. We all travelled together on the bus from the Sunshine Coast to the airport. Once our flight landed in NZ, we had the chance to stretch our legs with a light run and then head to our hotel. Shout out to my roomy, Jacob Tonge, a fellow debutante for the game.

Due to the time difference we were all out of bed pretty early Sunday morning (4am again!).

The hotel put on a great spread of buffet breakfast and the 17 of us did a pretty good job of demolishing most of it. Apologies to the other hotel guests eating with us.

The coaching staff decided we needed to walk off some of the buffet so we headed out to see some of the sights in Auckland.

Once it was game time, we all headed out to the stadium and made our pre-game preparations.

Playing in such a big arena like Mt Smart Stadium made it all very real that I was about to play in my first NYC game. The size of the place and the TV cameras set a pretty big stage to play on.

Obviously the result of the game wasn’t what we were after. The Warriors took advantage of too many errors from us and ran away with the game. We started off really well but in the end it was our execution and completion rate that let us down.

So there’s still tonnes of improvement to be made and I can’t wait to get back to training hard and working on all the little things to make sure I’m in the running to get another call up.

My first NYC game was a truly humbling experience and I’m so grateful for the opportunity.