It was a day just like any other during his off-season, but when Daniel Bradshaw’s telephone rang that Wednesday afternoon, his life was about to somersault.It was trade week in Melbourne and Bradshaw’s Lions had just stepped into the biggest play of the week as they attempted to pluck troubled star Brendan Fevola from Carlton.”It was Wednesday afternoon of trade week, and I got the phone call saying me and ‘Rischa’ [Michael Rischitelli] were going to be flown down to Melbourne on the Thursday morning,” Bradshaw explained. Both he and Rischitelli had been offered to the Blues as payment for Fevola, and Carlton wanted to convince them it was the right decision to make.”I didn’t have much time to think about it. It was straight on the plane the next morning, heading down there and being shown around Carlton. Obviously that whole week is hard on the players with so many unpredictable things going on, and I know it’s all part of our game and has to be done, but it’s not a very nice week at all.”Bradshaw had been at the Lions since he was a teenager. He may have been 30, but it wasn’t like he had been a passenger in 2009. He kicked 58 goals, and was pivotal alongside Jonathan Brown in several Brisbane wins. He was off contract, but expected another one would be a formality.”I had just had little [contract] talks before the end of the year, but we didn’t worry too much about it â?¦ then what happened in trade week happened,” he recalled.”Obviously I didn’t see it coming. I thought I’d sign a new contract at the end of the year and I’d still be in Brisbane right now, but as I said, some crazy things happen in trade week and this was what the Lions decided at the time, and I had to run with it.”They just traded pretty hard. ‘Vossy’ [coach and former teammate Michael Voss] obviously thought he needed some improvement, or a few other players to get further up the ladder or whatever, and that’s what he decided to do. The rest is history, and you’ve got to try and move on. As much as it’s hard at the time, you’ve got to try and look forward.”The fact I didn’t really see it coming â?¦ that’s part of the reason why at the end of the day I didn’t want to stay. I wasn’t real happy with what they did and I wanted to move on and have a fresh start somewhere else.”Asked about any ill feelings towards the club or Voss, Bradshaw replied: ”I think they have moved on and I’ve moved on. Somewhere down the track we’ll be able to work it out, but at the time there was a lot of emotion there. I’d been there for so long, and had a lot of good friends, but players come and go from different clubs and that’s the way you’ve got to look at it.”Bradshaw left Melbourne that Thursday and headed to Wodonga, the country town where he grew up. Again his phone rang. It was Sydney’s player personnel manager Kinnear Beatson.”It was funny because he was the one who got me to Brisbane way back in 1995,” Bradshaw recalled. ”We caught up in Wodonga and it went from there. I went away for a week on holidays and made my decision while I was away.”When Beatson first found Bradshaw, he was just a 16-year-old who had played half a season in Wodonga’s senior team. He once kicked 18 goals in a reserves game – ”some of the midfielders were kicking seven goals. It was one of those games where they kicked a couple of goals and we kicked about 50” – and then in his senior debut he kicked seven majors.The following year, 1996, aged 17, he became the fifth-youngest senior player in Brisbane Bears history when he made his debut against Richmond at Optus Oval.He would play three games that season, but when he again broke into the team the next year, he would quickly become a regular fixture.He would play 222 games with the Lions, ”be spoilt” with golden service into the forward line from one of the game’s best midfields which included Voss, Jason Akermanis and Simon Black, win two premierships and kick a club record 496 goals. Before that Wednesday phone call came.Bradshaw, his wife Angie and their four kids have settled well in Sydney. There was a hiccup with a knee arthroscopy in the pre-season, but he was ready to go for round one, and has slotted in well to the Swans forward line, and like many is excited about the way the group have started the season.Fourteen years ago Richmond played a role in his career when he made his debut, and tonight he hopes they will once more be part of a milestone, as he needs just one more goal to reach 500.Like all good footy players, Bradshaw only focuses on one game at a time, but he admits he ”had a bit of sneaky look” and saw that in round six, the Lions come to town.”I’ve thought about it a little bit,” he said. ”I think I’ll probably be a little bit nervous because I’ve spent so much time with a lot of those players and no doubt there will be a bit of banter going on between the players. But I’ll just look at it like any other game. I can’t get too built up on it, or I’ll be a nervous wreck. It’s just a normal game, and just like this week and every week I’ll go out there trying to help win a game of footy.”
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