FOR 18-year-old Bailey Williams, 2018 has been a success.
He represented his country, his state and won a TAC Cup grand final with his club.
But the high-flying forward/ruck has been met with criticism from some club recruiters. And Williams is out to prove them wrong.
“At times they’ve questioned my workrate and that I’m not too laid back in my footy sense,” Williams told foxfooty.com.au.
“But I just reassure them that that’s not true. I suppose it sort of comes down to footy stuff, you have to bring up certain stages where you weren’t showing stuff like that.
“Then there’s times that it would show stuff that they aren’t happy with (when they look at the vision), it sort of just comes down to what you’ve proved over the last couple of years.”
The tall explained he continued to sell himself as a multi-positional player, with his efforts still meaning his name may be called out inside the first-round on draft night.
“I just make sure that all the clubs know that I really love the game and that I’m willing to work hard,” he said.
“I know that’s what they want in a player, someone who can come in and give it a red hot crack straight away.”
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The Collingwood supporter said he had a “pretty solid” season and, like many other draft prospects, it would be dream come true if he was to be called out.
“I’ve been pretty happy with my year, obviously got to play in a grand final with the Stingrays and won the first one ever, so that’s pretty good to get off the blocks,” Williams said.
“Individually I think I’ve had pretty solid year, I’ve been happy with how I’ve developed as a player from last year.
“Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to play AFL. It’s going to mean everything (if I get called out).”
The tall booted a bag of seven goals against Western Jets in Round 4 of the TAC Cup and averaged 16.8 hit-outs during the Under 18 Championships.
Williams’ biggest strength is his eye-catching leap, with the 198cm tall finishing first in the running vertical jump off his left foot at the national draft combine.
“I’ve sort of been born with a bit of jumping skill I suppose. My old man I think when he played footy, he was pretty bouncy as well. So I get it from Dad,” he said.
“(At) school athletics, I’d do the high jump, (I) got to like state level and got a silver medal in Year 7, but that’s basically it.
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“I’d rock up to these high jump events and people would be wearing their spikes and their skins and I’d be wearing footy shorts and Asics, so it was interesting — but I just liked it because it was fun.”
And his mobility makes him believe that clubs shouldn’t be overlooking talls with early selections.
“It’s not like they’re betting on a one-trick pony,” he said.
“With a lot of the talls who are pretty agile and stuff, they can turn out to play off half-back or half-forward and in the ruck, so it’s sort of like a win-win I reckon (if clubs pick them).”