Sam Clohesy and Bailey Humphrey celebrate during Gold Coast's clash against Geelong in round 10, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

A LITTLE trip home and the "magic of family" was the catalyst for Bailey Humphrey's career-best outing against Geelong on Thursday night.

Following a self-proclaimed "poor" start to the season, Humphrey was rested from Gold Coast's round eight clash against Brisbane at the Gabba.

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Needing a mental and physical recharge, the 19-year-old returned to his hometown of Moe, 130km east of Melbourne, as the Suns took on the Lions.

Spending three of four days there was exactly what he needed. Gold Coast was "so supportive" of his break and got a rejuvenated player on return.

So, what did Humphrey do at home?

"It was just to clear the head and see some people I needed to see," he told


"Go down the local footy club and help out at the canteen on the Saturday, just to reset, so I could feel like I was doing what I was doing before the draft.

"It worked a treat. I'm not homesick at all, I just needed a bit of a reset, mentally.

"The magic of family, really."

It set Humphrey up perfectly for Gold Coast's week-long trip to Darwin.

Bailey Humphrey takes a selfie with fans after the R9 match between Gold Coast and North Melbourne at TIO Stadium on May 11, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Coach Damien Hardwick used him as a substitute against North Melbourne, where he gathered 12 disposals, including six clearances, in just a quarter of action.

That would lead to a full game against the Cats.

From the outset, Humphrey made the slippery ball look dry, so clean were his hands at ground level. And unlike earlier in the season where he failed to capitalise on his opportunities around goal, he was clinical inside forward 50.

Evading players, shrugging them, snapping around his body, bombing set shots from long range – all his skills were on show.


The result was five goals (he'd never kicked more than two in an AFL game) from 16 disposals and a truckload of confidence to take forward.

Humphrey said a new attitude and some simple words from his coach have also helped.

"I've just changed my attitude pre-game," he said.

"I get real tense normally, pre-game, I've been loosened up, have a bit of a dance, have a joke, have a boogie … I think it's helped my attitude going out there.

Bailey Humphrey snaps the ball during Gold Coast's clash against Geelong in round 10, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

"I'm normally tense and uptight and I think it flowed on to my footy early in the year. I'm hoping a bit more of a loosen up will help me out.

"Dimma's been great with me, he's said, 'Just play footy, mate'.

"I got real tight early in the year and was worried about getting in people's way … it took away my strengths of just winning the contest.

"They've given me great clarity on winning the ball when it's near me. It's helped (to have the mindset of) just win it and go for it."