“It just consumes you… you need to be coming into football, or sports like cricket, with a clear head and mine was never clear – it was always pretty scrambled.”
Gambling plagued Daniel Ward's AFL football career and now he is doing his best to ensure cricketers around the country avoid the pitfalls he encountered.
Ward, now 38, was present at the recent New Player Induction Camp, where he shared his, at times, confronting story with Australia's youngest crop of state cricketers.
Now captain-coach of Monbulk FC, the former Melbourne midfielder continues to juggle football, full-time work, family life and gambling education as he strives to bounce back from some of his darkest days.
Ward stressed the importance of being able to identify when gambling becomes a problem and the significance of speaking up early, whether it's you or someone else who is battling the problem.
"If that helps people and has been able to help people in other sports, then it sits well that people don't get to that stage, for sure," he said.
Having met with the Western Australian squad this week, the former Melbourne Demon will take his story back out onto the road, meeting with the five other states.
Ben Smith, the ACA’s National Manager Professional Development and Wellbeing said:
“Problem gambling is an issue throughout all parts of society, with statistics revealing young men are particularly at risk. These presentations offer a real-life example of someone who has faced enormous challenges and setbacks due to gambling. It’s just one of a suite of services the ACA provides to players to help educate them and create awareness on key subjects.”