AFL CLUBS could do worse than give Footscray VFL star Will Hayes a much-deserved chance at AFL level, premiership Hawk Campbell Brown says.

The 23-year-old midfielder has been a consistent improver in his five seasons with the Bulldogs state league side and is coming off a career-best year that saw him finish fifth in the VFL's highest individual honour, the JJ Liston Medal, and earn an invite to next month's NAB AFL State Combine.

Standing at 181cm and 79kg, Hayes has come into recruiters' calculations with a 2018 campaign that saw him average 26 disposals, four tackles, six handball receives and four inside 50s per game.

Recruiters spoken to by believe Hayes' dream of being on a senior list will eventuate at November's NAB AFL Draft, with one impressed with his ability to "break lines with his run and carry", while another says he's earned his chance as a "role player with strong endurance."

The son of champion horse trainer David Hayes joins Williamtown's Michael Gibbons and Werribee pair Sam Collins and Josh Corbett as leading candidates to be selected from the VFL.

Brown couldn't agree more with those talent spotters and says in his role as a commentator on Channel Seven's VFL broadcast team he's been impressed by Hayes' output.

"I'd seriously consider drafting Will Hayes," Brown told

"He's been on the radar for a few years and I reckon last year he was a bit unlucky to not get picked up.

"But he's put his disappointment aside and had another terrific year with Footscray.


"I see him more as a wingman at AFL level, but players like him who read the play really well can also play across half-back.

"He's put in a body of work across three or four years which has been very consistent, so there's not much more he can do to get drafted."

With the Western Bulldogs crying out for players who can help its poor efficiency by foot and difficulties hitting targets inside forward 50, Brown believes Hayes' skillset would be handy acquisition for Luke Beveridge's side.

"Will's very damaging because he's the guy you want with the ball in his hands with his good decision making and ball use," Brown said.

"He's got a great balance between his inside and outside game, because he wins clearances, lays tackles and gets the ball forward on centre.

"I think he'd fit perfectly at the Doggies."

The Dogs have missed out on two players from Footscray recently, with Melbourne swooping on Mitch Hannan and St Kilda claiming Ben Long in the 2016 talent pool.

However, the club recruiters struck gold in their own backyard when they gave former Carlton rookie Billy Gowers a lifeline after an impressive 2017 VFL season, with the hard-running forward leading the goal kicking with 26 majors in his debut season.