Untried Sydney defender Will Gould is finally getting some game time under his belt, and Will is on the way to being good as Gould to debut.
Few players would have been more excited to return to competitive footy than Will Gould.
With the Sydney reserves competition cancelled in 2020, Gould had a long time between proper competitive matches and the untried Swans defender was overjoyed to return to the field.
“It’s awesome,” he told The Inner Sanctum.
“Not being able to play competitive games last year was a bit of a slog.
“It was good to come out a few weeks ago, in round one of the VFL, and play competitive footy.”
With no footy at all for Gould (outside of a few scratch matches) in 2020 one would have thought that he would have been a bit rusty on return, but he said it’s not the case.
“I think everyone was in the same boat, absolutely thrilled to be back out there, playing and competing,” he said.
“We played a few trial games in the leadup, and it didn’t take long to hit the straps and figure out what competitive footy was all about again.”
Gould has been hard at work since he was drafted to improve his game and has been privileged to learn off the most experienced players at the Swans.
“Being able to learn off of Dane Rampe, and the likes, has been amazing,” he said.
“Homing in on my defensive craft, my work’s been around fitness and endurance, and getting that to a level where I can compete consistently.
“They are probably the main things I’ve been working on.”
Rampe’s influence has been critical for Gould, and he says Rampe is the guy he looks to emulate on the footy field as well as go to for support and guidance.
“I think so, yeah,”
“Him and Tommy McCartin.
“Obviously, he’s still young as well but watching his game and how he goes about it has been awesome.
“But when it comes to my defensive craft, and [learning] the way to go about it down back, I don’t think there’s anyone in the AFL that does it as well as Ramps’ does, in terms of his body work and positioning.
“To have the opportunity to learn off Dane has been an amazing experience.”
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At the lower level, Gould has been led on the field by Adam Gulden, who is in his first year as captain of the Swans reserves.
Having played the first couple of games in the reserves, Gould has had great insight into his new captain.
“Adam’s been, he’s been awesome,” he said.
“[He’s] brought a mature head to a younger group, so he’s had a really positive influence.
“On game day, he leads from the front, and gets his job done and helps everyone around him.”
Sydney’s strong start to the season may have caught some pundits off guard, but not Gould, who spoke about the belief in the four walls of the Swans.
“In the pre-season, we, internally, within the four walls of the club, were pretty confident that the squad we’ve got would be able to compete with the rest of the teams in the comp, [at] AFL and VFL level,” he said.
“While it might have surprised a few, the start that we’ve had, we were very confident that we could play the footy that we’ve been playing.
“Hopefully, we continue to build on it and play consistently at the level we have been.”
Much of the credit directed to Sydney’s strong start has been their young guns.
Players like Errol Gulden, Braeden Campbell, Logan McDonald and Chad Warner among others, received immediate attention from the footy world.
Gould spoke about the connection that the young boys have, with himself living with James Bell and Warner.
“A lot of young guys, the first to four years, are from interstate,” he said.
“We’ve spent a lot of time with each other.
“I’ve got a really strong connection with a lot of the first to four-year guys, I guess.
“We gel well together off the field and I think it’s showing on the field.”
Looking to a Gould-en future
The hype is as strong as it’s ever been for Will’s potential debut.
But the man himself can’t put a timeframe on when that’ll occur.
Instead, he highlights some teammates who bode their time in the reserves before debuting.
“It’s good to have a couple examples of guys on the rookie list, not playing for a couple of years, and having to do it the hard way a little bit,” he said.
“Obviously, I wasn’t rookie listed but, take guys like obviously Rampe, I keep coming back to Rampe.
“He’s been a great guidance, and teached me a thing or two about patience.
“I just got to keep working on getting my game right and putting together a block of games.
“I’ve started to do now that the VFL’s started.
“Consistent performance will look after that, and when the time’s right, it’ll come.
Going a long way to helping with that is one simple piece of advice from Gould’s coaches- to compete.
“Footy can be overcomplicated sometimes, with structures and things at the meetings,” he said.
“I sat down with Horse (John Longmire, Swans senior coach) and Laids (Jeremy Laidler, Swans reserves senior coach) a few weeks ago.
“And the main thing I was challenged on was to be able to compete.
“Once you do compete, it makes it a very simple game.
“It’s pretty simple but it’s just one-word i’ve received this year, to compete.”
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