Although his physical presence is difficult to ignore, AFL teams overlooked Fremantle defender Sam Collins, who was drafted with pick 55 in the 2015 draft after three seasons with Box Hill in the VFL.
Despite the delayed start to his AFL career, Collins said he benefited greatly from his VFL experience, which taught him the value of a strong work ethic and time management.
“It’s work rate, at Box Hill you’re playing with Hawthorn players who get their training loads in every week,” Collins said.
“You’re also going to university or working every week so you have to top up when you can in the evening or afternoon.
I enjoy playing forward: Collins
Collins embraced the learning curve that comes with not only matching up against AFL calibre teammates, but also the nuances of senior football tactics.
“I’ve been matching up on ‘Tabs’ (Matt Taberner) and Jack Hannath,” he said.
“They’re strong bodies, so I’m trying to match it with them defensively and also learning the forward patterns by following them around as a defender.”
Collins however is under no illusions, and knows that breaking into the senior side will take time and hard work.
“You’re going to have to bide your time playing, whether it’s development league football, in the VFL, or over here in the WAFL,” he said.
“If you stick at it, play your role when the team needs you to and work hard on and off the field, you’re going to get your shot at senior football.
“When you get that opportunity to play seniors, whether it’s for four games, one game or the whole season, you have to make the most of your opportunity.”