Aliir Aliir has been inundated with ticket requests from family and friends ahead of his AFL debut

April 29, 2016 11:48am
Aliir Aliir at Sydney Swans training, Moore Park. pic Mark Evans
Aliir Aliir at Sydney Swans training, Moore Park. pic Mark Evans

THE ticket requests for Swans debutant Aliir Aliir are growing by the minute with up to 100 family and friends expected to be at the Gabba to watch him in action against Brisbane.

Teammate Dan Hannebery says he may need to shut down communications on the night before the game so he can get some sleep.

“He’s very excited getting his family members coming across from Perth,” Hannebery said.

“He’ll probably need to turn the phone off the night before the game with everybody trying to contact him to wish him good luck.

“We’re just hoping he comes out and gives a good account of himself like he’s been doing the last five or six weeks in the NEAFL.”

The 21-year-old Sudanese refugee has grabbed national attention since the Swans announced on Wednesday he would play his first game on Sunday against the Lions.

He comes into the team for the injured Ted Richards.

“He’s worked extremely hard in the last two or three years to get himself to a level of playing quality football in the reserves,” Hannebery said.

Aliir Aliir in action for the Swans in the NEAFL.

“He’s a much loved member of the group and has deserved his opportunity this week.”

Hannebery himself is celebrating a milestone, set to play his 150th career game.

“It’s crept up quickly,” Hannebery said.

“When you come to the football club you see players get the 150 games at the best and fairest and you think it would be amazing to get that life membership, it’s a proud moment and a proud week to reach the 150 and looking forward to challenging the Brisbane Lions this week.”