No longer will football fans have to wait before witnessing prodigious youngster Tom Boyd in action at AFL level, with the GWS Giants announcing that the 18-year-old will debut this Sunday against the Crows at Adelaide Oval.
Boyd will enter the AFL scene in strong form, having kicked three goals in the Giants reserves team's victory over Belconnen in the NEAFL last weekend. He played a single AFL practice game for GWS during the pre-season, kicking one goal against Adelaide on March 7.
Speaking on Thursday, Boyd's excitement at the prospect of a debut was readily apparent.
"I think I'm just about back to my best so hopefully I can have an impact," Boyd said.
"I've dreamt of this all my life...but come game time it's not about me. I set high expectations for myself because that's what really drives me and motivates me," he said.
Coach Leon Cameron is also planning to use him as a back-up ruckman to Jon Giles, who held the fort in last weekend’s loss to the Western Bulldogs in the absence of injured star Shane Mumford.
Despite missing a chunk of last season with an ankle injury, Cameron said his young charge was impressive during the off-season.
"He hasn’t missed a beat," the rookie coach said.
"His last two or three weeks, he’s really started to get into some rhythm and we’re looking forward to seeing what he can do on Sunday afternoon."
Cameron praised Boyd’s leadership and his standout ability to contest marks, but said he didn’t expect too much from the 200cm, 104kg teenager.
"All I want Tom to do is compete, play his role and that role is a key position forward and also playing in the ruck as well," he added.
"Anything on top of that is a bonus.
"I understand there’s a lot of pressure on high draft picks to perform first-up, but it’s a tough brutal game. It’s a huge step up from the NEAFL level to the AFL.
"All we want him to do is go out there, have some fun, play the games like he used to play at under-18 level.
"If he does that, I’m sure his natural talent and work rate will take care of the rest."
The 200cm and 104kg tall forward was taken by the Giants as the first selection overall in last year's national draft, and is widely regarded as a player of rare potential.
There was significant speculation for much of last season that GWS would trade away its first pick given that the Giants already had power forwards Jeremy Cameron and Jonathan Patton, and were believed to be the frontrunner in acquiring Lance Franklin from Hawthorn.
However ultimately the wooden spooners decided against discarding the selection, and instead further bolstered their forward line riches by choosing to take Boyd, who had starred throughout 2013 as the focal point of the Eastern Ranges team which ultimately won the TAC Cup premiership.
The Giants sit eighth on the AFL ladder with two wins from their opening four matches.
- with AAP
The story No. 1 draft pick Tom Boyd to make AFL debut for GWS against Adelaide first appeared on The Age.