Travis Boak is chaired off by two of his team-mates after his 300th game. Photos: MARCEL BERENS/SPORTS MEDIA IMAGES
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PORT Adelaide veteran Travis Boak has never forgotten his roots in Torquay, nor the people who helped him make it to the AFL.
Boak, who played his 300th game at the weekend, had anything but a smooth preparation in the days beforehand.
Originally bound for Melbourne, the Power initially prepared to board a 4pm flight on Tuesday last week to dodge South Australia’s hard lockdown but were asked to wait to enable a Showdown match against Adelaide, before ultimately travelling to Victoria and playing in an empty Marvel Stadium against Collingwood on Friday night.
“It was some sort of rollercoaster day when we found out we were going to Melbourne, then told to cancel plans and to stay put but then it was back on again,” Boak said on Thursday last week.
“I’m just so grateful to play for this footy club for one game, let alone 300.”
He rated his AFL debut – at AAMI Park in 2007 – as one of the highlights of his career and “a dream come true”.
“Having my family and friends all come over from Torquay, we got the win … I’ll remember that one forever.”
Boak’s mother Chicki, eldest sister and aunt drove to Adelaide last week just before SA’s border closed to Victoria but came home once the game was moved.
“I was able to spend a few days with them, which was great,” Boak said.
“They were obviously planning to come to the game in Adelaide … but we had a good chat during a family dinner and kind of celebrated in some way.”
Port Adelaide took Boak with pick five in the 2006 draft, not long after his father Roger died of cancer.
Boak said he could “talk forever” about Chicki and how important she had been to him.
“It’s been a pretty tough journey – leaving home when I was 18, leaving Mum and my sisters was one of the most challenging times of my life, and Mum being able to support my sisters back there (in Torquay) and also not miss a game of footy (of mine) has just been incredible,” he said.
“She’s been able to be able to support me through everything that I’ve been through and the challenges I’ve faced, Mum’s always been there to lend an ear or fly over or drive over to be there for me. Even growing up, it was the support of driving me to games and being the ear to talk to about footy when Dad wasn’t there.”
Chicki said she was proud of her son.
“To reach such an incredible milestone for all that he’s been through in his life, it’s pretty amazing,” she said on Monday this week.
“It shows the type of character he has.”
She nearly ended up watching the game live at Marvel Stadium after radio station SEN offered her a spot in the commentary box.
“The AFL had approved it, but then revoked it at the last minute, that was sort of disappointing. I had my hopes up, but it wasn’t to be,” Chicki said.
Boak has frequently said he plans to return to Torquay and play for the Tigers seniors in his dad’s #5 jumper once his AFL career is over.
“He does keep saying that, but we’ll wait and see,” Chicki said.