Main content
Western Bulldogs Header Branding

From slumber to celebration

Pick 78 | Will Hayes Footscray Bulldogs VFL Best & Fairest winner Will Hayes is now an AFL-listed player. Watch the state league highlights of the Club's latest draft recruit.

Will Hayes was tucked up in bed when his AFL dream was realised.

The 23-year old thought he’d have to wait until the Rookie Draft for his chance at an AFL career, but his fortune changed quickly, and he was selected with pick 78 in the AFL Draft on Friday.

“Guilty as charged – I was in bed.  There was no lie to that, I was very much under the covers,” Hayes told SEN’s Gerard Whateley.

“I was up very early.  Sleep wasn’t really coming my way.  It turned out to be one of the best, longest days of my life.”

FIND OUT ABOUT ALL THE NEW BULLDOGS AT THE NAB TRADE AND DRAFT HUB, POWERED BY MERCEDES-BENZ VANS

The son of champion horse trainer David Hayes, Will toiled for five years on Footscray’s VFL list before being granted a senior opportunity.

“It was five years of hard work in the VFL,” Hayes said.

“I was working with my coaches Steve Grace and Stewart Edge, just on the theme of being reliable not remarkable.

“Sometimes when you’re in the clinches trying to impress recruiters you can move away from what makes you a good footballer.

“I was very much trying to be at the forefront of the contest, put my head over the ball, feed it out to the runners and get to as many contests as I could.”

Hayes capped off an outstanding 2018 VFL season by winning Footscray’s Best and Fairest.  Despite the accolade, he was uncertain if it would earn him a senior spot at the Dogs.

“I knew there was interest there from how much investment they’d put into me over the past five years,” he said.

“I was sort of doing my own form and I knew I’d be in calculations with the season I’d had.

“It means everything.  I’m so happy to stay at the Bulldogs.  I see it as a bit of a family to me.  I’ve got good relationships with everyone.  It’s an absolute dream come true.

“I know this is the start of all the hard work, so I’m ready to get in there day one and not look back.”

SIGN UP AS A WESTERN BULLDOGS MEMBER FOR THE 2019 SEASON