ARARAT’S Tom Williamson made a good impression in his first year playing at an AFL level, and he has set his sights on another year of development in 2018.
Williamson managed to play 15 games in his first season at the Carlton Football Club, after being selected with pick 61 in the 2016 AFL draft.
As a second year player, Williamson started pre-season training earlier than some of the senior players this year, heading back in late October.
“It was really good to get back early and see all the boys again,” he said.
“Everyone was really excited to get back into it and we see it as a little bit of an advantage for us to get an extra couple of weeks training.”
Despite playing more than two-thirds of games in his debut season, Williamson won’t be assuming his starting position is a certainty heading into next season.
“I was obviously really stoked to get that many games under my belt last year,” he said.
“I want to take confidence from last year and build on that again this year. One of my main goals is to play in every game this year.”
The defender’s focus during the pre-season has been to bulk up so he can regularly compete with some of the best forwards in the game.
“Firstly, I want to put on more muscle size in the gym. That’s been a big focus for me,” he said.
“I also want to maintain my good aerobic engine and build up my tank, so hopefully I can use that as a weapon this year.”
It’s been a tough pre-season for Carlton, with star defender and 2017 All-Australian Sam Docherty injuring his anterior cruciate ligament in training.
With Docherty out for all of 2018, there could be an opportunity for Williamson to take his position.
“There’s an opportunity there for whoever can jump into that role, hopefully I can put my best foot forward and put my hand up to take his position,” he said. “It’s pretty open and I’ll do everything I can to slot in there.”
Williamson said he had been working with the more experienced defenders such as Docherty to help grow his game.
“I work a lot with Docherty and Kade Simpson,” he said.
“Especially now I have been doing a lot of vision work with Docherty and learning from his stuff. He is a very good vocal leader out on the ground. That’s been a goal for me this year, being a lot more directional out on the field.”
Williamson will be hoping to put in a solid pre-season and put his hand up for selection as Carlton opens the 2018 AFL season against reigning premiers Richmond on March 22.