Main content

Coach recalls Bulldog debutant Bailey Williams' 56-touch game

Sore Swan, Boomer's birthday, Pies fly Friday Footy Feed from AFL.com.au

BULLDOG debutant Bailey Williams will have no trouble adapting to AFL football, says a former junior coach.

Andrew Bruce coached the quietly spoken 18-year-old in the under 18s at SANFL club Glenelg last year and saw on a weekly basis the rapid improvement Williams displayed as the season wore on.

After impressive form across half-back for Footscray in he VFL, the tough playmaker will don the red, white and blue for the first time against Melbourne on Sunday.

"Bailey is a smart, versatile ball-winner who is strong overhead, has a lovely stride and is strong over the ball," Bruce told AFL.com.au.

"He just continued to improve last year to the point where he found himself in the (Glenelg) reserves team.

"It's a credit to him."

For a player who missed selection for South Australia at the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships, Bruce knew from early in the season Williams had plenty of talent, but didn't foresee a 56-possession and one-goal game against Woodville-West Torrens.

What makes the performance all the more remarkable is that the under-strength Bays went down by 91 points.

"We were low on talent that game, and as a forward he went into the midfield and stood up all day," Bruce said of the player who was taken with pick 48 in last year's NAB AFL Draft.

"He and a couple of others boys shouldered all the work on the ball, but Bailey was a standout.

"He plays his best footy when he's hunting the ball.

"It was amazing what he achieved."

While he's unlikely to see much midfield time against the Demons, veteran Dale Morris is more than happy to have Williams down back helping him stop goals.

"'Bails' has impressed and to be in the mix this early in the season shows he's doing something right," Morris told AFL.com.au.

"I've seen a few VFL games and he's a really good user of the ball, he's got some speed and he reads the game really well."

"He's more than ready to debut."

Williams replaces the injured Marcus Adams and has been named on the interchange bench along with second-year playmakers Toby McLean, Bailey Dale and Caleb Daniel.