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Thursday, November 29, 2018

Western Bulldogs draftee Rhylee West is like his dad, but with more tricks

Western Bulldogs son-of-a-gun Rhylee West hopes to create much better memories than the most vivid recollection he has of his father Scott’s decorated playing career at the club.
“The one that’s most prevalent was his 300th game, which was in Perth,” Rhylee said.
“I remember running out as a little boy and that’s probably one of the only memories I have of running out with him, but I remember watching him on TV.”
Scott celebrated the milestone by racking up a team-best 29 disposals in that 2006 semifinal at Subiaco Oval. But he was unable to prevent the Bulldogs being handed a 74-point thrashing by West Coast, who went on to win the premiership.
The memory of that defeat is largely consigned to history for Rhylee, who is about to embark on his own career after being taken with pick 26 in last week’s national draft.
The 18-year-old joined Lachie Hunter, Mitch Wallis, Tom Liberatore and Zaine Cordy as father-son selections at the Bulldogs and has already set his sights on playing senior football in his first season.
“I’ll get into pre-season, build up my tank and get a bit more strength and hopefully I can put up with some of the boys out there,” he said.
“It’s up to Bevo (coach Luke Beveridge) at the end of the day, but hopefully I’ll push my name for early selection next year.”
Rhylee has been handed the No.14 jumper worn by Scott in his first two seasons at the Bulldogs in 1993-94, followed by long-serving captain Luke Darcy and 2016 premiership forward Clay Smith.
“Bevo rang me after I got drafted and asked me if I wanted to wear No.14, which I guess carries on from Dad’s first couple of seasons,” Rhylee said.
“It is good to be taking it on from Clay Smith, who was a good character around the club and a key to their success in 2016.”
Rhylee kicks on his right foot — seven-time Dogs best and fairest Scott preferred the left — but the pair share the same appetite for hard work.
“I’m a right-footer, so I didn’t get Dad’s genes in the kicking area, but I’m definitely similar to him,” Rhylee said.
“I’m a hard midfielder who likes to go in for the ball and also likes to go forward and kick a goal. I’m similar to Dad, with a few more tricks.”
Rhylee said his surname had been a blessing during his junior development, rather than a burden, and said his father had never put much pressure on him as a player.
“You get some psycho parents these days, but he was good,” Rhylee said. “He just sat on the sideline, let me do my thing and let me play footy. The name comes with pressures, but it also comes with its privileges. I have no regrets having the name.”