ANTHONY Scott resigned last month. Twelve months after putting his career as a treasury analyst at Telstra on hold, Scott has been forced to part ways with the telecommunications giant. Not that he cares. His career in finance can wait; life in the AFL can't.
The 27-year-old had a life away from football in finance when Dogs list manager Sam Power and senior coach Luke Beveridge pulled the trigger on him during last year's pre-season supplemental selection period, swatting away late interest from Essendon to sign Footscray's 2019 best and fairest winner on the eve of the season.
Things have moved fast since then for someone who was playing for Old Trinity in the ammos at 23 only a few years ago and needed to be convinced by Western Bulldogs development manager Jamie Maddocks that it would be worth his time driving across the West Gate Bridge to play VFL again.
Scott made his debut in round one last season and played 21 of a possible 26 games – he was an emergency in the Grand Final – in a remarkable rise from anonymity to the big time that culminated with a two-year extension last August, adding four of five to start 2022 after overcoming an injury interrupted end to the pre-season.
It has taken time for Scott to realise just how different his life has panned out. He is no longer poring over numbers – big numbers with lots of zeroes – analysing foreign currency and bond deals. He is now a permanent part of Beveridge's best 22 and has just played his best game yet at AFL level in the Dogs' 68-point win over North Melbourne on Good Friday.
"I didn’t really get a chance at all throughout the whole year to reflect, but during the off-season it was good. I didn’t find out I was on the list until Feb last year and then round one was two weeks later. I ended up playing the first three or four months of the year. It all just happened so quickly and I was ticking one box after another," Scott told AFL.com.au.
"When we got to spend that time away [in Perth] for the Grand Final and then I got to stay interstate for a bit, I had a good break after the season it was good to finally catch up with family and friends, because we couldn’t even with COVID and everything.
"It was a special time and you realise how much your family and friends go along the journey with you; my dad, especially, I think he's enjoyed it more than I have potentially. It is good to just cherish the journey."
Beveridge has used Scott all over the ground to plug holes in his first 25 games. But it was a return to a wing for the first time this season that produced an equal career-high 17 disposals, eight score involvements, 387 metres gained and two goals in a sign of things to come with Jason Johannisen sidelined and Roarke Smith out of the side.
"I played a fair bit of wing across junior footy, under-18s and VFL, so it is a role that I know pretty well. I just made the most of the opportunity to be on the wing and I was pretty happy with how I went. Hopefully spend a bit more time there now," Scott said, who played junior footy with Jack Billings, Jack Sinclair, Jake Kelly, Luke McDonald and Will Hayes at the Kew Comets.
"I think if I can put in a performance like I have today, it will hold me in good stead on a wing week in, week out. We've had a few guys roll through that position. I played in the backline a couple of weeks ago against Sydney in the second half and spent time up forward, so I am happy to play wherever Bevo needs me. But I think wing suits me well."
Scott's head has taken a battering so far this year. He missed round one after fracturing his skull and eye socket when he was elbowed in the face by an unnamed ruckman at training six weeks before the season-opener, which required two plates to be inserted into his face, one on the side of his eye, the other in his cheekbone.
Last week he copped a blow to the head against Richmond and only played 40 per cent of the game after being left with blurred vision. The eye socket was in the clear and Scott was cleared of concussion protocols and able to face the Kangaroos at Marvel Stadium.
"I just got a knock and I've had it before – actually had it last year – where if I get a head knock in the wrong spot I get a bit of blurred vision. Last year it was classed as concussion. I passed all the protocols but they wouldn’t clear the blurred vision part," he said.
"So that in the future I wouldn’t have to be classed as concussion if I got the blurred vision we saw a neurologist in the middle of last year and he was able to show that it was a migraine that caused the blurred vision and not actually a concussion, when I had that last week against Richmond."
Pre-season supplemental selection period signings have been in vogue to start 2022. Paddy McCartin, Patrick Naish and Jarrod Lienert have reignited AFL careers that appeared all but over. Jack Hayes has made the most of an opportunity that never looked like arriving and Nic Martin has already earned a NAB AFL Rising Star nomination after being overlooked in previous drafts.
Scott, who went from playing in the VAFA in 2018 to starring in the VFL in 2019 to the great unknown of no football in 2020 amid the pandemic, believes the ability to audition for a spot on a list helps those who have slipped through the cracks over time.
"It's an awesome thing that the AFL brought in because there are guys that have missed out for whatever reason, whether they were already on a list and unlucky with injury or just good local or VFL footballers who are on the cusp but just can't quite get a look in," he said.
"To get the chance to go train at an AFL club, if you can hack it with the best at the club then there is no reason why you shouldn’t be at a club no matter what age you are. It's a really good thing that the AFL has done."
The job at Telstra may no longer be on hold for Scott, but he is certainly making the most of his new day job.