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How one young Dog is breaking the mould

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Promising Bulldog Billy Gowers celebrates after kicking a goal against North Melbourne - AFL,Western Bulldogs,Billy Gowers
Promising Bulldog Billy Gowers celebrates after kicking a goal against North Melbourne

PLENTY of AFL players could take a leaf out of Billy's book.

"Take every game as it comes."

"We can only control the controllable."

"We knew they'd come out hard."

Some clichés have become all too familiar within the four walls of the football media industry.

Many AFL players are PR-trained so intensely they can respond to a hard-hitting question with an empty answer that leaves fishing journalists without a headline.

But Billy Gowers is an exception to the rule.

Just take a peek at the Western Bulldogs forward's social media accounts and one will be pleasantly surprised.

Refreshingly, Gowers doesn't shy away from the spotlight and lets his charismatic, jovial personality shine.

MATCH PREVIEW Blues v Bulldogs

Ultimately, the 22-year-old believes his highly active social interaction boils down to one thing.

"I just want to be myself," Gowers told AFL.com.au.

"I think being given a second opportunity (at AFL) has made me relax a bit more and it’s made me be myself.

"I think my social media activity is just me being me."

Gowers is infectious and has even brought out the personalities of some of his more reserved teammates.

Two of his recent uploads have involved fellow first-year Bulldogs Ed Richards and Fergus Greene.

Richards took part in a carpool karaoke session as he and Gowers banged out lyrics to Akon's classic hit Smack That.

Gowers also snapped Greene performing an audacious self-choreographed routine following last weekend's thrilling win over North Melbourne.

"Nothing is ever planned with my social media, it just happens when it does," Gowers said.

But Gowers admits his attempt at the Kiki Challenge currently taking the internet by storm was not his wisest move.

"Some of the boys were giving me a bit of flak about it," he said.

"Apparently I shouldn't have been dancing when I had an ankle injury … so I won't be doing that anymore."

 

Drafted from the Oakleigh Chargers by Carlton in the 2015 AFL Rookie Draft, Gowers was then delisted by the Blues after he was unable to break into their senior side.

Gowers believed his AFL dream was over and explored other career avenues.

But the Western Bulldogs handed him a second chance and after a stellar season with Footscray in the VFL last year, Gowers was rewarded with a rookie contract.

"I'm still pinching myself," Gowers said.

 

Since making his debut in round one, Gowers has played 18 games this season and currently leads his club's goalkicking tally (22 goals), equal with vice-captain Marcus Bontempelli.

Bontempelli downplayed a goalkicking rivalry but was full of praise for Gowers.

"What Billy has been able to achieve so far in his first year of football is just unbelievable," Bontempelli said on Tuesday.

"He's quite robust and a powerful player.

"He's added an extra layer of speed and power to our football club."

Only an ankle injury kept Gowers – the son of former Hawthorn premiership player Andrew Gowers - sidelined for a fortnight, but he returned in last weekend's seven-point win against the Roos.

With the Dogs' lead just one point deep into the third quarter, Gowers kicked a thumping goal from outside 50.

 

"One of my mates said I celebrated before I even received the ball," Gowers joked.

"It was probably a bit silly, but it was all in good fun."

The Bulldogs face Carlton at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.  

The Dogs are attempting to win three in a row like they did between rounds six and eight earlier this season, but Gowers says he has no hard feelings towards his old side.

"There's definitely not (an extra incentive to play well), not for me at least," Gowers said.

"Other blokes have that burning desire to play better, or beat, their former team.

"I'm still really close with a lot of the people at (Carlton) and I get along with the coaches and players."

But even Gowers managed to let one cliché slip.

"It’s a normal game for me."