IT has been an emotional and bizarre week but Port Adelaide great Travis Boak is not complaining about the unique build-up to his 300th AFL game.
The star midfielder will become just the second Power player to reach the milestone, equalling Kane Cornes’ club games record of 300.
But Friday night’s match will be completely different from what Boak and his family could have ever imagined.
Instead of running out in front of adoring fans at the Adelaide Oval, Port will face Collingwood at an empty Marvel Stadium.
South Australia going into a statewide hard lockdown forced the AFL to send Port and arch-rivals Adelaide to Melbourne indefinitely.
Advice from the AFL changed several times on Tuesday; the teams were set to board a 4pm flight, until talk suggested the SA clubs could instead play each other in a Showdown at the Adelaide Oval, before ultimately travelling to Victoria.
The move seems puzzling on the surface given Victoria is also in lockdown but relocating will give Port and the Crows the freedom to train as normal, which they would not have been able to do in Adelaide.
“I’m laughing under this mask because that’s about all you can do at the moment,” Boak said on Wednesday.
“It was some sort of rollercoaster day (on Tuesday) 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.
“It was a pretty emotional day, a challenging day, there’s no doubt about that but we’re here in Melbourne now settling.
“I’m just so grateful to play for this footy club for one game, let alone 300.
“I would have loved to played in front of our fans and my family but circumstances are that we can’t but I’m still very grateful to be running out there on Friday night.”
Boak’s mother, eldest sister and aunt are driving back from Adelaide after heading across last week when SA’s border was about to shut to Victoria.
But there is some hope Boak’s family members will be allowed to sit in a corporate box at the Docklands stadium to watch the game.
“I was able to spend a few days with them, which was great,” he 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.”
A captain between 2013 and 2018, Boak is a three-time All-Australian and remains desperate to play in another grand final after being a member of Port’s team that lost the 2007 decider to Geelong.
(C) AAP 2021