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Melbourne Football Club

James Munro talks life beyond footy

ALL players prepare for a football match differently, however, no one prepares quite like James Munro. Whether it be sleeping in the car, sleeping at work or failing to sleep at all, Munro negates all challenges to ensure he is prepared for everything life throws at him.

The Casey Demons leader played a practice match off just two hours sleep in the pre-season, a feat simply unimaginable from afar. With commitment to his teammates and pride in his job, Munro’s tale of dedication is one to behold.

The tough on-baller commutes from work in Geelong to pull on the red and blue guernsey at Casey – requiring an extraordinary 122km trek down the highway. In less than convenient fashion, Munro has managed to balance an inspiring work life and continue playing footy for the club he loves.

“I’ve been a paramedic for Ambulance Victoria for the past 12 months,” Munro told Melbourne Media.

“It’s a fantastic career, probably not something that goes hand in hand with playing state league football, but I certainly enjoy it and it’s given me a great perspective about life outside of football.”

While the 23 year-old is living out his dream of being a paramedic, he is aware that his occupation of choice comes with great stress and poses arguably more obstacles than any other.

“I think every day posts different challenges,” he said.

“It’s such a unique job because you go into each day not being able to prepare for what you’re going to experience that day. Some days it’s not overly clinically or mentally challenging and some days it’s really full on.

“I mean, getting up at all hours of the night and jumping in the car and going to people’s houses when they’re at their worst moments and are requiring you there, it’s pretty challenging.”

However, Munro’s passion for football provides him relief when times are tough.

“Coming down and playing footy at the Casey Demons is an outlet for me, a pretty luxurious outlet. I come down here, talk some rubbish with the fellas, have a run around and play on Saturday afternoons – life doesn’t get much better than that. “

While work is of the utmost importance to Munro, football still plays a significant role in his life and he has goals in place for the future.

“When I come back here it’s all about enjoyment and trying to get the best out of myself in footy,” he said.

“One day I’d love to potentially put my hand up to captain the club, and I’d love to play 100 games here. That’s where I get my motivation from.”

Casey Demons senior coach, Jade Rawlings, truly admires the commitment Munro shows in all aspects of his life.

“He’s very devoted to the footy club, very passionate about his career path to be a paramedic, and I have a high respect for his contribution to the club,” Rawlings said.

“He cares about people and he plays with a high spirit. It really means something to him, representing the club, and I have a lot of respect for that.”

Whether Munro is fresh off a full night’s sleep, or if he arrives at a game on the back of a nightmare shift, he will give his all for the team.

“He’s a no excuses person,” Rawlings said. 

“He loves playing footy and he knows his occupation is a choice and he wants to combine being a VFL footballer.”

Initially, Munro had a distant dream of reaching the ultimate level in football and running out on the MCG, but with other objectives in his life, his career took its natural course.

“I think when you go through playing TAC Cup and then make a VFL list for your first year, you’ve always got that ambition to try and pursue an AFL career,” Munro said.

“But for me, I personally know I was probably never quite up to that level.”

Munro returns to Casey for a fourth season in 2018, and despite the clear barrier of travel, he is continuously lured back.

“The guys here are super,” Munro said.

“They give me the opportunity to train at local leagues so I don’t have to commute all the way back here from Geelong, but I think it’s just one of those things you push through.

“I do a lot of kilometres in the car, and it’s obviously appealing to play a bit closer to where you live or where you work… but I think having so many connections down here in terms of the coaches, the players and the community area makes it a no brainer for me to cop the travel, get in the car and come down here.”

Casey is home for Munro, and despite the weight of the world on his shoulders, he is as relaxed as one could be.

“Work is fantastic, four days on and four days off is awesome, playing footy, living in the city – life’s pretty good,” he said.