FROM a season without football to being given a training trial, winning a place on the Western Bulldogs' list and then becoming a senior regular, this year has been a whirlwind ride for Anthony Scott.
And now the 26-year-old Bulldog can add a two-year contract extension to his list of achievements, with the versatile member of Luke Beveridge's side locked in at the kennel until the end of 2023.
Scott was a member of Footscray's VFL program before winning a spot on the Dogs' list via the pre-season supplemental period after an impressive block of training, as the Bulldogs warded off late interest from Essendon.
It kickstarted a run that has seen him play 18 games, including a couple as the medical substitute, for the top-of-the-ladder Bulldogs. After last year's COVID-19 wipeout of football in Victoria at lower levels, Scott has been a low-key but no less valuable recruit for the Bulldogs as they set the bar for flag contenders.
"It's been an amazing year, definitely the best year of my life thus far. With the uncertainty that last year brought in terms of footy where I didn’t actually play a game for points the whole year and then to get an opportunity with the Dogs at the start of this year and to work my way onto the list and to be now sitting where we are is pretty special," Scott told AFL.com.au.
"It's definitely reward for so much hard work that I've put in, not just this year but the last five, six, seven years through playing in the VFL and a bit of amateurs footy as well. But to have two years in front of me now at an AFL club fills me with a lot of confidence and personal belief. I think it's going to give me the opportunity to flourish even more."
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Scott's emergence might have surprised some, but not himself. After he had been invited to train with the Bulldogs' AFL squad, but before he had actually started, he had set his sights on facing the Magpies in round one this season, a goal he clocked three months on.
"I was with a group of mates and we were going through a few New Year's resolutions and I said 'Collingwood, round one'. I got laughed out of the room a little bit. It was a semi-joke but I had pretty high aspirations and I always have for myself so I thought with the ability I’ve got, if I put the work in, I could be a chance to play," he said.
"I didn't really know how much of a chance I'd be at the start of pre-season but I just kept ticking the boxes as we went along through pre-season."
Having been a member of the VFL program, Scott assimilated quickly into the Dogs’ mix and has been a versatile option for Beveridge, who has used him across half-forward, half-back and most places in between.
"For me locking down a permanent position still remains to be seen as to where I’m best suited but I’m just happy to show up anywhere on the field and do what’s required," Scott said.
Scott's new deal has also meant he will have to put off a return to the finance world. He had been working with Telstra as a treasury analyst prior to joining the Dogs and continued to do one day a week remotely in his first two months of training at Whitten Oval before he had signed on as a pre-season rookie.
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"Once I signed in February I was able to take a career break which I think was 12 months at that stage, so I might have to extend that out a bit further if we can. Telstra's been awesome even though I haven't been there at all really this year. They've been checking in regularly and seeing how I'm going," he said.
"It was a pretty high-octane job when we were going. Foreign currency, a few bond deals, dealing with $100s of millions of dollars at a time and I was front of house so we were clicking execute on the deals so if you made a mistake it would end up being a pretty big one. But I do like footy a lot more so I'm happy with where I'm at."