OF ALL the Victorian prospects in this year's NAB AFL Draft who could have rested on their laurels from last year's achievements, Will Phillips was one.
But the driven Oakleigh Chargers midfielder, who in 2019 played in a NAB League premiership with the club, averaged 22 disposals and four tackles in 10 games and also featured for Vic Metro as a bottom ager, has done the opposite.
DRAFT HUB Latest news, profiles, highlights, more
Even though Phillips hasn't played a game this year after the Victorian junior season was wiped out by the spread of COVID-19, the 18-year-old has used his time in the enforced break to get better.
"My motivation hasn't really dropped in terms of my footy. I've managed to stay hungry, keep training lots and keep my mind off what we've lost this year," Phillips told AFL.com.au's Road to the Draft podcast.
"I'm been really grateful for that. It's been up and down but I've been really blessed with the environment I've been surrounded with.
"I've just put it in the back of my mind now. It's taught me to not look too far into the future and just to remain present and focus on what you can control.
"That's been my mindset, especially since I was looking forward to resuming the school footy season and the NAB League season. Since that's been knocked back I've been able to handle that really well thankfully."
Phillips sits as a likely top-10 pick when names are called in December, ranking as one of the leading midfielders available to clubs.
INDICATIVE DRAFT ORDER Your club's picks as they stand
The inside ball-winner is consistent, tough at the clinches and able to push forward and hit the scoreboard. He was also one of their best players on Grand Final day, kicking two goals from 16 disposals against the Eastern Ranges.
Phillips said he had learned plenty from being a teammate of top-two picks Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson with the Chargers and fellow top-10 pick Fischer McAsey at Caulfield Grammar.
"It's a special thing considering what they’ve been able to go on to do, so I learnt a lot from them in how they go about things, their professionalism and their leadership," he said.
The 180cm prospect has overcome injury niggles to undertake a thorough training program during the season shutdown, ensuring by the time he joins an AFL club Phillips will be ready to go.
While it remains unclear if Victorian hopefuls will test at a Combine before the draft, Phillips is readying himself for a busy end to a bleak year, including finishing year 12 exams and then likely being an early selection.
"We've got so many things to juggle and it's all coming together at the end of the year. I am really excited for that but I also know I should take it one step at a time and be as present as possible.
"It's very easy to look forward and get excited about the draft but if you don't continue to focus on what's important and what you can control then for me that can be really detrimental."