Wil Powell’s career at the Gold Coast Suns started a year ago when he got told to create a video of his best under-18 moments to send to club recruiters.
Last year’s AFL draftee was asked by his manager, Colin Young, halfway through last year if he could make his own tape. Powell went to Claremont where he played in their under 18s colts side and got all of his footage.
“It took up all of my time and I did it all”, as Powell became a pro at Final Cut Pro, a media application that is used to make videos.
“It was fun, something to do. I enjoy watching edits but putting all the best parts into a little movie made me feel proud that it was going out to AFL clubs.”
Powell didn’t worry too much about it as he continued to play for Claremont without being selected for the Western Australian Under 18s team. But his tape got around as the Suns scouting team were the first to arrive at his house for an interview. They had a request as well.
“I got told to keep it all ‘hush hush’. I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone, only my family. Nobody else could know. So I didn’t tell anyone, I had to keep it secret from other clubs if they asked I’d had any meetings with anyone else,” Powell told afl.com.au.
“I met with Melbourne, who told me the same thing to keep it ‘hush hush’. I also spoke to Port Adelaide, Fremantle, Richmond, Carlton and Collingwood.
“I didn’t expect to have one chat to an AFL club because I was only a little wiry skinny kid just playing my role and not doing anything out of the blue to get recognized. When I had my first chat it was like ‘wow’.”
The best moment was yet to come but fast approaching. The Suns went over two more times, and then with two weeks before the national draft, Powell met with Suns recruiter Mark Micallef where they talked about the club’s values and beliefs. After that meeting, Powell had a gut feel that he would be joining the club.
“I thought it was going to be a reality that I was going to move down to the Gold Coast, so I started preparing for that,” Powell added
The Suns followed through with it, selecting the 19 year old with their first round pick (Pick 19). It was the biggest surprise of the draft as no one knew Powell due to his lack of exposure. The Suns knew Melbourne were interested and with three second round picks up their sleeve, Gold Coast took no risks and got in first.
Powell made his debut against Collingwood two weeks ago. He ended it with a goal and 10 touches, but backed it up with 15 touches in last week’s loss to North Melbourne.
“I love it here. It’s the same as Perth. I can’t complain about the weather. I can’t complain about the club, the facilities, the people. It’s such an inviting environment. I couldn’t think of anywhere else to be,” he said.
“Mine’s a different pathway than what you hear when you’re usually touted as a first-round draft pick. You usually hear about every little thing they are doing, but not being on any radar helped as well not having that pressure of performing week-in week-out.”
Since arriving, Powell has put on eight kilos and wants to add another three by the end of the season to be at 78kgs. Even though Powell is still taking it all in, he knows what type of player he wants to become.
“My aim is to build a body big enough to withstand the midfield. I want to be a midfielder. Looking back for inspiration, a little bit like Nat Fyfe. He came in as a skinny kid,” he said.
“I was watching videos on him and he came in raw and skinny and not knowing much and how he’s built himself up to now where he dominates games in the midfield.”