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Young maturing at kennel

Coach's Office - Tom Young (Rd19) This week development coach Ash Hansen analyses Tom Young's development as a defender in the VFL.
Tom Young of the Bulldogs in action during the VFL Round 15 match between Footscrat and Essendon at Victoria University Whitten Oval on July 20, 2014. (Photo: Sean Garnsworthy/AFL Media)
Tom Young of the Bulldogs in action during the VFL Round 15 match between Footscrat and Essendon at Victoria University Whitten Oval on July 20, 2014. (Photo: Sean Garnsworthy/AFL Media)

The Footscray coaches named Tom Young as best on ground against Bendigo but it is his sustained run of form that has Assistant Coach Ashley Hansen most pleased.

Young finished with 25 possessions and four inside 50s in the Footscray Bulldog’s 131 victory and his defensive attributes and commitment without the ball was just as telling.

“His ability to run and carry was really a highlight against Bendigo and first and foremost he defended really well too,” Hansen said.

“He won all his one-on-ones and really won the ball back for us and took it forward.

“It was really encouraging to see some good form on his behalf.”

Hansen said the 22-year-old had made steady progress with his skills and efficiency this season and with that has become more damaging in the Bulldogs backline at both AFL and VFL level.

“[He has improved with his] skill execution also defending primarily, because that is his first and foremost job to be down there,” he said.

“He is really winning his fair share of one-on-ones which is really important, then he’s using the ball and giving us some really good rebound from defence.”

When he was first drafted to Collingwood, Young’s football apprenticeship began playing predominantly through the midfield – before being traded to the Bulldogs in 2012.

Now well-adjusted to his new role in the back six, the 22-year-old has been drawing on elements of his attacking game to complement his dour defending.

“His natural appetite to run and carry and take the game on is really important for us too,” he said.

“He’s starting to get that really nice balance between defending and locking down his man and making sure he is containing him but then also giving us some offensive drive when the right opportunities present themselves.

“I think he’s now starting to get some really good game awareness of when to do that and when not to so that is probably the highlight for me in the back half of this year.”