Adelaide forward Shane McAdam is almost 4000km from his home - a remote town in northern WA Halls Creek - but it’s never far from his mind.
Nor is his family, who proudly watch from back home, as he stars for the Crows.
“Family back home gives me a lot of inspiration to stay here in Adelaide and continue playing footy,” McAdam said.
“I have younger family and cousins back home looking up to me, that gives me a lot of inspiration.”
McAdam’s journey to West Lakes has been long and sometimes difficult.
The now 26-year-old grew up kicking the footy along the dirt oval in Halls Creek, one of the smallest towns in the heart of the Kimberley, boasting a population of about 1500 people.
He moved to Perth for schooling and showcased his football talents with Claremont in the WAFL.
Despite creating plenty of highlights in the WAFL, McAdam was overlooked at the 2015 AFL Draft.
He returned to Halls Creek to play for the local footy Club before meeting Shane Radbone, an ex-Essendon and Sturt footballer who saw McAdam’s potential and helped him move to Adelaide.
McAdam began playing for Scotch Old Collegians in division two of the Adelaide Football League, before joining Sturt in the SANFL.
He was then selected by Carlton as a mature-aged pre-draft access pick but was quickly traded to the Crows in 2018.
McAdam’s path to the Crows has also been one filled with resilience, and the pride it brings his family at home is why the Kija and Jaru man has never given up.
But he also never forgets where he came from and with injuries preventing him from lining up with the Crows in the first four games this season, McAdam went back to Halls Creek.
It was the first time McAdam had returned home in almost two years, following the Covid pandemic and border closures.
And it helped with not only getting his body right, but also his mind.
“The Club was really good about it,” McAdam said.
“I saw an opportunity to have a bit of time off and I went home.
“It was a bit of a refresher because I hadn’t been home in a long time, it’s good to go back and see family and friends.
“I tried to do a lot of fishing, camping, a bit of hunting and just mainly catching up with family and friends, which was good.”
Representing his people and culture is also why the AFL’s Sir Doug Nicholls Round is so special to McAdam.
The livewire forward will enter this weekend’s match against St Kilda in career-best form, having not missed a beat since returning to the Crows’ line-up in Round Five.
McAdam has averaged 10.8 disposals, booted nine goals and his leap off the back of Carlton defender Lewis Young in Round Eight earned him a Mark of the Year nomination.
“It feels good to be playing again, and just being out there with the boys, it feels a lot better than being on the sidelines,” McAdam said.
“The Carlton (mark) was late in the last quarter, so I was buggered.
“I had no run in my legs and the ball just got kicked in, I thought I had to make a contest and I just jumped and flew for the ball and luckily I caught it.
“The biggest thing for me is that consistency with being out on the track, which helps me with my game.
“Rahils (James Rahilly) the forward coach wants me to bring my pressure and then goals will come with it but my pressure is probably the main thing I want to focus on this year.”
McAdam, whose favourite Indigenous player is star Sydney forward Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin, says Sir Doug Nicholls Round is a chance for everyone to embrace Aboriginal culture and the skills they bring to the footy field.
“It means a lot to me, this round,” McAdam said.
“It’s probably my favourite round of the season.
“Giving non-Aboriginal people a chance to learn more about our culture and it also gives us an opportunity to showcase Aboriginal talent across the game.
“I’ve always looked up to Buddy Franklin, he was always my number one player.
“He’s so exciting and he can do it all.”
Adelaide’s AFL side will wear its Indigenous guernsey for the first time this year, following in the footsteps of the SANFL and AFLW teams, which have already donned the jumper in 2022.
The Club’s SANFL side will also wear the jumper in its Friday night blockbuster against Woodville-West Torrens.
Eastern Arrernte man Pat Caruso designed this year’s guernsey, which was officially launched in January.
The design highlights the coming together of the men’s and women’s teams on their reconciliation journey, as well as acknowledging the impact that the many members of the Crows family have left on the Club since 1991.
The Crows take on St Kilda in Sir Doug Nicholls Round at Adelaide Oval on Saturday, with the first bounce at 7pm.