Rain, hail or shine, Shaun Higgins didn’t miss a Geelong game at Kardinia Park growing up.
He and his family spent many hours kitted out in their Geelong gear, tucking into a meat pie on a cold winter’s day, cheering on their beloved Cats.
Fast forward 15 years since he made the move to Melbourne as a 17-year-old and Higgins returns to the town that gave him so much joy growing up.
"We think with Gary Ablett retiring there’s an opportunity there for an experienced, super-skilful and talented player to play that same sort or role that Gary did."— Geelong Cats (@GeelongCats) November 12, 2020
Stephen Wells on what role Shaun Higgins is set to play, presented by @GordonTAFE#GeelongStrong
After watching so many of his heroes play on the hallowed turf at GMHBA Stadium, he will now get his chance to do the same after Geelong completed a trade with North Melbourne to make him a Cat.
“I still am, but I was a crazy footy nut when I was a kid coming here every home game for as long as I can remember,” Higgins told Cats Media.
Higgins has a strong family connection to the club too. His sister, Danielle is one of the stars of the club’s AFLW team.
"I am excited about seeing her down here as well and sharing the experience at the same time."
Shaun and Danielle's father Mick also played for Geelong's reserves team.
"He had a number of years down here and then also locally around the area as well, so a connection that goes a fair way back I guess, with my sister as well and now I get to pull on the jumper as well, so it’s exciting.
When the trade officially went through on Wednesday Higgins was instantly "excited" about the opportunity of what it meant for both his playing and personal life.
"A bit played out over the last month or two and I was really confident that we would be able to get here and we have, and excited about what the next few years will hold for me.
"In some regards it has been a little bit of time in the making. There had been a few discussions last year and then this year didn’t go to plan, so really excited about ‘A’, the club really wanted me to come down and ‘B’ we could get the deal done.
"I am excited about playing and also being back here where in some ways it first began growing up being a Geelong supporter, and with family involved at the football club now and family living in Geelong as well, so it’s exciting for myself to be able to play, but also (for) our personal life as well."
For Shaun the move down the highway was as much about his football as anything else.
"It has always been a case of what is best for my footy and this ticks a lot of boxes in terms of where I am at in my career, what I think I can contribute and what I think the team can do for me as well and hopefully I can play my role in that.
"But then the family aspect of it comes into consideration. We have got a little two-year-old at the moment and twins on the way next year, so that’s also a bonus as well."
Higgins has already been in contact with fellow new recruits Jeremy Cameron and Isaac Smith, and is looking forward to playing alongside them in the hoops.
“I have been in contact with both of them and had a relationship with Jez before this as well which adds another layer to it.
“They are two quality players with great experience and hopefully the three of us can add something to the group."