Prime Prospects: Tom Boyd
We catch up with the player likely to go pick one in this year's NAB AFL Draft
Probable No.1 pick Tom Boyd is happy to play anywhere when he is drafted
WHEN people first started talking about Tom Boyd as this year's No.1 draft pick, the big, strong and powerful forward didn't take much notice.
He thought it was a chance for people to drum up some interest in the under-18 competition. But then things started to feel a little bit different, a little more real.
By the time the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships started in May, Boyd had become the nominal first pick. It took some getting used to.
Then when Greater Western Sydney said it would be open to trading the first draft selection, Boyd's name became attached to it. The Giants, it was read, were offering Boyd for trade, even though he was yet to be on an AFL list.
"Being talked up as the No.1 is pretty humbling to be honest," Boyd told AFL.com.au's Prime Prospects series.
"When GWS said they were going to trade the No.1 pick, [the hype] really started to gain some traction and I suppose I became the consensus No.1, which is a really weird experience.
"You've just got to take it as it comes. I think I've dealt with it pretty well, I've kept a level head and now I'm just trying to focus on my school work."
His attention has not been diverted from more important things, like recovering from his ankle injury.
Boyd ruptured both his lateral ligaments and suffered some chipped bone in the ankle during Vic Metro's third game of the under-18 championships, when he landed awkwardly against Western Australia after taking a strong contested mark.
He was set to line up for his fourth goal in the opening 10 minutes before the injury, which has kept him out of action for the past three months.
He remains a slight chance to return this week for the Eastern Ranges' TAC Cup preliminary final against the Geelong Falcons, but won't be taking any risks.
"I was really excited and started pretty well [against Western Australia] ... and talking to Mum and Dad, they said they were riding a real high with the way I was playing and then it crashed down pretty quick," Boyd said.
"I suppose it's just footy, and a pretty good example of how good of a leveller it is. It's just how it goes."
Having just turned 18, Boyd is articulate, strong-minded and dedicated, and will have no qualms following his football wherever it takes him.
"If you asked any draftee they'd probably say, first and foremost, they'd like to stay at home," Boyd said.
"But I feel I am a pretty independent kind of guy and the move to a different state does excite me with new beginnings and new friendships. But also really testing yourself and putting you in an environment which is challenging.
"Moving really excites me but I think either way I just really want to play AFL footy and that's my dream."