Calder Cannons inside midfielder Rhylee West isn’t feeling any pressure to follow in the footsteps of his father, a champion of the Western Bulldogs.
The 18-year-old Strathmore (Essendon District FL) product is eligible to be taken by the Bulldogs as a father-son selection at the 2018 NAB AFL Draft on November 22-23, with his father Scott West winning seven best-and-fairest awards and five All Australian guernseys over 324 AFL games for the club from 1993-2008.
Playing in a similar way to how Scott played, Rhylee earned U18 All Australian selection after representing Vic Metro at the NAB AFL U18 Championships and averaged 19 disposals, six tackles and over one goal per game across six TAC Cup matches this year.
His performances indicate he’s not letting a famous surname define him as a footballer.
“All our names are attached to us,” West said at the recent AFL Draft Combine alongside other 2018 father-son candidates. “We got given it at birth and I guess you’ve got to take it in your stride – how good they (fathers) were.
“Personally, I don’t think about the pressure a lot; I just play my footy to the best of my ability, whether it’s as good as Dad or not as good as Dad.
“We do play a bit similar. Even just watching some of the things he’s done, that’s what I want to replicate in a game – just winning the contested footy and feeding teammates on the outside. (But) I think I can take a mark and he couldn’t take a mark; he couldn’t get off the ground.”
West said his prospects of being picked by the Bulldogs at the draft were still “a bit up in the air”, having not had much contact with the club throughout the season.
Regardless, he appears likely to attract bids by other AFL clubs following a 2018 campaign during which he “played consistently over the whole year”.
“At the end of the day it’s all about getting on an AFL list, so as long as (I’m on) another AFL list (than the Bulldogs’) I can’t see any disappointment in that,” West said.
“As long as (Dad’s) happy and I’m happy with what I’m doing, that’s the real focus.”