Emerging ruckman Tim English has been quietly going about his business in 2019.
But there’s no doubt he’s growing – on and off the field – as he continues to develop into being an important player for the Western Bulldogs.
After a self-described ‘ruck lesson’ from one of the competition’s best, Collingwood’s Brodie Grundy, in round four, English has been among the Dogs’ best over the past three weeks against Carlton, Fremantle and Richmond.
The 21-year-old has relished the opportunity he’s had this season.
“I look forward to the challenge, and I’m just trying to take little bits and pieces out of all those top ruckmen that I’m lucky to play against,” English told Triple M on Sunday after the win against Richmond.
“The toughest opponent this year – obviously I’ve played against a lot of top ruckmen of the comp – Ben McEvoy and Jon Ceglar was a hard partnership to come up against, and Brodie Grundy showed me how to do ruck work pretty much in that game against Collingwood.”
Learning on-field has been a big focus, as has been getting bigger and stronger to compete – which has seen him aim to pump in seven meals a day.
“I have a pretty strenuous gym program at the moment but I think the main focus for me is just getting enough food in,” English said.
“Obviously I need to improve the size of my frame, so it’s something that’s a work in progress.”
In his 16th AFL game, he arguably had the better of premiership ruckman Toby Nankervis, and is looking at how he can keep bringing his strengths to the table each week.
“Toby shows that he’s a really physical ruckman, and I knew he was going to bring that physicality,” English said.
“For me, I was trying to use my height, my length and being able to jump. I feel like I was able to do that a little bit through the centre bounce. Obviously he was able to get his hands on the ball and able to grab it out of the ruck a couple of times.
“Growing up in WA, you obviously look at Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui growing up. I think Dean Cox’s mobility is something that I’ve tried to emulate, that’s a hard thing to do because he was such a great player.
“That’s something I’d like to bring into my game, but there’s plenty of ruckmen out there (to learn from). If I can work on my tap work and strength as well, that keeps the mids happy which is the main thing.”