Burleigh Bears player Jack Buchanan. Picture: Jerad Williams
Burleigh Bears player Jack Buchanan. Picture: Jerad Williams

Footy player’s epic grand final baby dash

AT 3AM on grand final morning Jack Buchanan sat in a Tweed Heads hospital room helping his pregnant wife in any way he could.

By 5pm that night the delighted - but exhausted - 27-year-old was both a premiership-winner and a first-time father.

"Easily the best 24 hours (of my life) - I don't think you could top that," the prop said after the arrival of daughter Harper Jane Buchanan at 6.21am.

Burleigh's 28-10 Intrust Super Cup grand final victory over Wynnum came amid a backdrop of drama for Buchanan, whose wife Maddy went into labour on Thursday afternoon.

By the early hours of Sunday the baby hadn't arrived, meaning Buchanan's 3.15pm game that day understandably took a back seat.

"She had been in labour essentially since Thursday, the poor girl," he said.

"We went to the hospital on Saturday afternoon and so I was thinking 'my preparation is going to be good' (for the game).

"But then by 3am Sunday nothing had really happened so I went home and got two hours sleep.

"I got a call at 5am and went back (to the hospital) and she was born at 6.20am that morning.

"(Playing) wasn't in doubt because once she was born my wife was always telling me to go, with it being my first grand final and she comes from a football background.

"Once the baby had all the check-ups I switched from thinking about the baby to getting ready for a grand final."

There was, of course, the issue of sleep deprivation.

"Two hours sleep isn't ideal for a grand final but in a weird way it helped because I wasn't nervous or anything going into the game," Buchanan said.

"Our parents brought some food in and I was drinking a lot of water to keep it as normal as possible and I'm not one that has a lot of superstitions about my preparation anyway.

"Until I actually hoped on the bus and started to go I hadn't been thinking about the game."

Sunday's win sparked double celebrations for Buchanan, meaning he stretched his time awake into the early hours of Monday too.

"We celebrated a bit which was good," he laughed.

Bears CEO Damian Driscoll hailed Buchnan's efforts in the grand final on the back of his rollercoaster 24 hours.

"He played pretty well considering; he played the first half and must have had some adrenaline," he said.



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