Melbourne youngster Oskar Baker made his AFL debut against West Coast last Friday night and already he has developed a widespread following from Demons supporters and the AFL community. That’s a result of an emotional video that the Melbourne Football Club uploaded to social media documenting the moment father Lee presented Baker with his first game jumper and reflected on their journey following the sad passing of the 20-year-old’s mother Trudie to cancer in 2017.
It has been a bit overwhelming to see the reaction and the amount of people that have been sharing the video around and seeing it on different websites.
The amount of messages I’ve got and to see the genuine care from people in the community has been pretty inspiring and special.
It probably just makes me think of Mum in general to be honest and to think how proud she’d be if she was here at the moment.
Obviously we’ve been through some dark times but I’ve always said that I’ve used her passing as motivation and what’s happened over the weekend – making my debut and seeing how much it means to a lot of people in the community – drives me and motivates me to play more games and have a long career.
Dad’s been practicing that speech for a while and some of the boys and coaches said they were close to tears so it had a pretty big impact on the group.
When I injured my hamstring in August last year, I was hopeful I would be able to get back and play for Casey in the VFL finals. I was nailing the rehab and ticking everything off and managed to get back to training in six weeks and I was doing a run through at about 70 per cent before the VFL preliminary final against Essendon and tore it again so that was a line through the season.
It was the first major injury that I’d really had. I’d never missed a training session or a game of footy so it was all new to me. It was a frustrating process and realising how close I was to making my debut at the time added to that frustration.
The pace and the speed of the game is a massive step up from VFL. You feel like you’ve got to make decisions with the ball really quickly and even when you’re out of the play, with your positioning you’ve got to adjust really quickly.
With the crowd it’s pretty loud out there so you can’t really hear out on the field. So there’s a lot of finger pointing and directing going on to communicate.
I played mainly on the wing and went forward for a bit.
Christian Petracca, Angus Brayshaw and Billy Stretch in particular were the blokes that I worked with the closest and they were really good helping me set myself up and communicate with me.
You can’t hear anything even from about 10m away so communication is really critical.
I felt like I played my role and had an impact on the game so hopefully I hold my spot in the team going forward.
As for the black arm band you might have seen me wearing on Friday night, I’ve worn it in every game since Mum passed away and I write ‘Mum’ in sharpie on the tape on my wrist as well and just have those two reminders and that’s something I’ll continue to do. I feel like every time I go out there she’s with me in a way so it’s a nice little reminder to get me up and about that’s for sure.