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Class of 2019: Why this 106kg half-back is likened to a premiership skipper

Gould's draft position will be one of the most intriguing parts of this year's draft.

You could have forgiven Will Gould for having some nerves. 

Last month, the 18-year-old played for Glenelg in front of nearly 40,000 fans at Adelaide Oval in the SANFL Grand Final against the Port Adelaide Magpies. 

But, aside from some initial flutters running onto the field, Gould settled in quickly and was a key player as the Tigers claimed their first flag in 33 years.

Gould's senior experience is one of the standout attractions for clubs considering the rebounding half-back at next month's NAB AFL Draft. And he, too, believes that he will be ready to play at AFL level as soon as next year begins.

"When you get to an AFL club you have to start all over again and work hard, but being able to play with and against men this year, and AFL-listed boys in the Port and Crows teams in the SANFL, has given me good confidence I can come in and have an impact next year wherever I am," he told AFL.com.au

Gould's draft position will be one of the most intriguing parts of this year's draft.

His qualities are all there in front of you: at 192cm and 106kg, he's a big-bodied player who uses his strength and body to get into position. He has had the frame not to be bullied by older and more experienced opponents this year.

He runs straight, kicks long and direct, and plays with a minimum of fuss, earning comparisons to West Coast captain Shannon Hurn. 

But clubs will also be assessing Gould's long-term development and how much growth he has in his game, which will shape if his name is called in the top-30 on draft night.

"Whether it's on talls or smalls, I mix and match here and there. I like to run off half-back and break the lines. I've always been a reasonably big boy so I've always been able to kick a fair way. 

"When I've got the ball it's about hitting the hardest kick and sometimes I'll get sprayed for not taking the easiest kick, but for me off half-back it's about how I can help the team score and I love breaking the lines and making that happen." 

That was particularly obvious in Gould's performance for South Australia against Vic Country in the under-18 championships, when he had 26 disposals and kicked a late, long goal. 

It saw him win back-to-back selection as an under-18 All Australian, as only one of three players in the pool to achieve the feat. 

"It's incredible. It was a massive honour and that's the case every time you get to represent your country or your state. To be able to do that first year was a bit of a shock and I didn't expect it at the carnival, but to back it up this year was really pleasing," he said.

"That's what I was focusing on this pre-season: how do I get better? I had to butter up and do what I did last year, but then take it up a notch. That's what I've been able to do this year."

Full article - https://www.afl.com.au/news/2019-10-24/class-of-2019-will-gould

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