BAILEY Scott will keep an open mind throughout this season about where his football future lies, as three clubs – Geelong, North Melbourne and Gold Coast – hold rights on him at this year's NAB AFL Draft.
Scott is the son of former Cat and Kangaroos player Robert Scott, who had a 132-game career with Geelong before crossing to North, where he played 111 games. His time with the Roos included playing in their 1996 premiership.
Bailey, a tough midfielder who can also play across half-forward, is eligible to join both clubs under the father-son rule, but also qualifies as an Academy pick for the Suns, having lived in Queensland since he was nine.
As part of the NAB AFL Academy's program, Scott spent time at all three clubs towards the end of last season but says any decision on his preference is far from being made.
"I'm not bothered. Basically, after the footy season it will come down to whether any of the clubs nominate me or not, and if more than one does then there's a decision for me to make. If not, then there's no decision to make," Scott told AFL.com.au.
"There's no factors, wherever I end up I'd be happy with that. Even outside of those clubs, if none of them chose to nominate me and I was drafted somewhere else I'd be happy. The goal is to be on an AFL list and then hopefully playing AFL games early on at whatever club wants me and wants to help me develop."
Scott comes into his draft season with senior experience already under his belt. The 187cm and 70kg prospect played for the Gold Coast's NEAFL side last year, before also stepping up to feature for the Allies at the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships.
But he feels even better prepared for his final under-18 year following stays at each of the Roos, Cats and Suns at the end of 2017.
"I finished year 12 and the day I finished I went off and spent a week and a half at the Suns, and then after that went off to Darwin for a week with the national Academy. After that I went down to Victoria and stayed for two weeks, where I did a week at North and a week at Geelong," he said.
"It's probably the same with other clubs too, but I found them all really similar in the way the life of a footballer is structured. That's what they try to emphasise with the AFL Academy trips so we live a life similar to that.
"They're all great clubs and reaching out to me and giving me experiences there, and they do the same with many of the father-sons."
For the past week Scott has been embedded with another side, as a member of the NAB AFL Academy on its American high performance camp. He thinks the challenge of being around the most highly-touted players in Australia has brought out the best in him.
"There's always a next level up. Even when you're going well compared to others, there's always the next group above you – and you don't compare to the ones below you but you try to catch up to the ones above," he said.
"The fact that we're here and get to experience what it's like at a club and get to see how the best of the best go about it, it gives you that drive to make it."
Scott isn't the only player in this year's draft pool with three clubs able to take him as an academy or father-son pick, with Nick Blakey, the son of John, facing the same situation.
Blakey can be taken by North and the Brisbane Lions as a father-son selection, and as an academy choice by the Swans, where his father is an assistant coach and head of development.