FROM a self-confessed "immature" draftee to a first-team regular, Wil Powell is now firmly entrenched in Gold Coast's future by signing a four-year contract extension.
Powell, the 2017 draft bolter, has inked a deal that ties him to the Suns until the end of 2025 after making a name for himself as a brave, skillful half-back.
It hasn't all been smooth sailing for the West Australian since he was taken in the first round (No.19) a little over three years ago.
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Walking into the club weighing just 67kg, Powell told AFL.com.au it took some time to adjust to life on the other side of the country.
However, in his second year at the club, it was the move of his parents Scott and Sharyn, two sisters and three dogs across the country that made all the difference in his development.
"That settled me so much," Powell said.
"Having family there with me when I got home.
"It was brand new to me in my first and second year, it was so confusing. I was such a young kid mentally and emotionally as well. That really helped me.
"From there it just got to a point where I didn't need them anymore, and I wanted my own space because I'd matured.
"I was having the time of my life here and coming to the club and seeing all my mates.
"Mum and dad have the biggest hearts and they just wanted the best for me.
"They relocated the whole family just for me. I look back and go 'wow, that's pretty special'."
With Powell settled in his new state and his family back in WA, he had a breakout 2020 season, playing 15 games and becoming an integral part of a tight back six.
Aside from adding size to his frame (he's now 80kg) and strength to his core, courtesy of some post-match advice from Charlie Cameron, Powell's biggest development has come off the field.
The 21-year-old is bright and bubbly, some might say a little goofy. It's part of his charm.
Powell craves the waves and said Gold Coast's beach lifestyle had helped him mentally whenever he's been in a rough spot.
"When I was immature I'd say some silly stuff around the club and get the odd weird look from my teammates, and I don't want those looks, so I've worked closely with Riggas (high performance manager Alex Rigby) and our sports psych Tristan (Coulter)," he said.
"We talk about flicking the switch, so when you're in the club, at the gym or on the training track, the switch is on, lock in, just for that hour or two hours.
"When you're off having lunch or getting treatment, that's the time to switch off.
"That's worked for me. I can still be my bubbly self and I think I'm getting a lot more respect from my teammates."
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What has never been in question is Powell's courage.
He is the first player to drop back into space in front of oncoming forwards, and said there was no hesitation in his game despite a heavy concussion he copped in 2019 that kept him out for two weeks.
"I just play footy. I don't think when I'm on the field. If I see the ball and it's there to get, I just go get it," he said.
Now he has at least five more seasons to do that at Metricon Stadium.