THE CLOCK was ticking towards quarter-time of North Melbourne's pre-season opener against St Kilda last year when the Kangaroos realised they had a good'un.

Jimmy Webster kicked the ball into space on the wing for Jack Newnes to run onto, with only a pesky teenager who was barely 70kg dripping wet to beat.

Newnes gathered the Sherrin, then doubled back – barely inside the boundary line – to try to shake his opponent, an 18-year-old Bailey Scott.

The problem was Scott didn't run past the contest, quickly changed direction, grabbed Newnes' jumper firstly with his left hand, then his right, and forced the Saint to handball in front of himself.

Within three quick steps Scott was in front of Newnes, who lost his footing and watched as the rookie Roo scooped up the ball and drove it back inside his attacking 50.

Here was some early, very impressive evidence of the benefits of having a former AFL footballer, Robert, as his father (Scott has inherited his dad's old No.8 for this season).

They used to work religiously on his contest work, given he was always slight as he rose through the age groups.

Scott was just 68kg midway through last pre-season, 72kg by round one, and now he's almost 76kg, with the aim of tipping the scales at over 80kg in the next few years.

FOUR ALL STARS, FOUR VICS: Your club's State of Origin contenders

"I do remember that moment," Scott told AFL.com.au, with the slightest of grins, in a chat at Arden St, almost a year down the track.

"It was a good moment for my confidence – one of the few from the pre-season, then the actual AFL season that I sort of hang onto – so I know when I get back there, to just back myself and play my role."

Then, barely three weeks later in round one, Scott was North's sole shining light in what proved the first stake in Brad Scott's coaching future in an 82-point defeat to Fremantle.

Twenty-one disposals (at 90 per cent efficiency), eight marks and two goals were enough for him to also be awarded the year's first NAB AFL Rising Star nomination.

FULL FIXTURE Every round, every game

Few would have predicted what would transpire from there.

Scott played only three more senior games – with a rest in between – before being dropped to the VFL, where he added six more until a broken left foot abruptly ended his first campaign.

Not long beforehand, Brad Scott and the Roos mutually parted ways, paving the way for the Rhyce Shaw era.

LIST RATINGS Roos' shock rise, Dogs tipped to shine

"It was a year of ups and downs. I experienced pretty much everything you can experience in an AFL career in one year, so it was interesting," the younger Scott said.

"But I look back on it now and the important part I take out of it is I can play at the AFL level. I've had that opportunity and I didn't feel uncomfortable or out of place."

A heavier Bailey Scott tests his boxing skills against Jasper Pittard. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

The injury itself technically wasn't from an isolated incident.

Scott had felt pain in his left foot for a few weeks but thought little of it, only that he must have been stomped on and it would go away.

The actual break happened when his left foot "kind of folded on itself" as he was tackled while attempting to kick on his right.

"Because there was a weak spot on that outside, on the fifth metatarsal, where that stress fracture was, it snapped right through," Scott said.

"I went into x-rays and found out I'd have to have surgery and that would be the fastest process back to being healthy, so I got a pin inserted from the top that pretty much runs all the way down the metatarsal.

"Since then, it's just been a slow build in load … if I was a bit older, towards the end of my career, then that's something I could have pushed a bit more.

"But being young, we just didn't want to take any risks, especially for me – running is one of my major assets and we just didn't want it to be affected."

Bailey Scott was dropped to the VFL before a broken foot prematurely ended his season. Picture: AFL Photos/Getty Images

Scott hadn't suffered a major injury before, but the likes of Will Walker, Ed Vickers-Willis, Kyron Hayden and Luke McDonald kept him company while completing their own rehab.

There was never any doubt he would tick every box in the recovery process, with club captain Jack Ziebell among the admirers of the way the wingman prepares.

Shaw is raving about him this pre-season, too.

RUBBER DUCK RACE, SPOTIFY PLAYLIST... The best ways to decide your Fantasy Draft order

"One thing dad says is, 'If you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail'," Scott said.

"I don't mind that saying, because it kind of says that preparation is the first point to setting you up for a good performance.

"I just think that every day I'm in at the club, I have to put my best foot forward and work as hard as I can to get the most out of myself."

02:15 Mins
Published on

Roy reveals his first Fantasy Classic team

Roy takes you through his must-haves, underpriced premiums and rookies for the first draft of his Fantasy Classic team

Published on

Scott's journey to earn his next AFL chance continues on Friday, in North Melbourne's intraclub hitout at Arden St.

He wants to play in the Roos' round one clash with St Kilda but of greater importance to him is what he needs to do to get there.

SECRETS TO SUCCESS How best to use the new utility position

"Yeah, look, everyone thinks about round one. For me, round one is the goal but if it's not round one, it's round two," Scott said.

"That next opportunity I get, I want to make the most of. Right now, the next opportunity will be the intraclub practice matches, then the pre-season games against the other clubs.

"That's where I need to perform, to be any chance of having a game in the AFL early in the season."