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Bullish about Boyd

September 29, 2018 6:00 AM

Hansen Talks: Boyd BulldogsTV spoke to forwards coach Ashley Hansen on the season development of Tom Boyd.

Tom Boyd’s ability to become as proficient in the ruck as he is up forward has him primed to continue is improvement as an AFL footballer next season.

That’s the view of Bulldogs’ assistant coach Ash Hansen, himself a premiership forward in his playing days for West Coast.

Boyd is just 23 years of age, and has 61 games to his name.

“We know he’s got a high level of talent and we’ve seen what his best looks like,” Hansen told westernbulldogs.com.au.

“I know Tom is striving to get there as soon as he can, and with consistency, and we really encourage him to do that.

“I think our expectations for Tom’s (ability) can be high because they’re going to be matched with Tom’s (expectations of himself) and I think that’s a positive thing. We rate him extremely highly.”

Boyd played 12 games in 2018, and although he missed the last five matches of the season with a back issue, it was a solid return to football.

“Tom really started to develop his ruck craft this year.  He probably played more ruck time this year than he has previously, and it grew over the course of the season,” said Hansen.

“Before he injured his back later in the year, I thought he really started to get some nice continuity in his performances.  He was available for training, available for games and strung a lot of performances together after an injury interrupted pre-season. 

“The fact he was available for the majority of the season was a real strength of his.”

Standing at 200cm, Boyd has great agility and adaptability.

“He’s certainly still an aerial threat.  His strength around the contest started to improve and his ruck specific fitness grew as well,” Hansen said.

“Availability of personnel usually determines whether he plays forward or ruck from week to week.

It’s a great position to be in where we know he can play both roles, and then we can select that team on balance or where we think we can get an advantage against the opposition.

“The ruck is one of those positions where the more time you spend in that area of the ground, the more confident you feel, the craftier you get and the more dominant you can become.

“I think it’s a time-based thing, which is the same for our young, tall forwards.  The more time he spends on the ground, the more time he spends training, we’re going to start to see his underlying strengths as he starts to blossom.

Hansen said Boyd’s goals for 2019 are simple.

“He’s such an aerial threat, if he can win ground level possessions, win those loose ball gets, that will certainly help him increase his involvement.

“As his aerobic fitness grows over another pre-season, that will allow him to have an impact up forward and around the ground as a marking target for us.”