Nick Buykx is poised to become the poster boy for Werribee’s commitment to home-grown talent in its new standalone era after recommitting to the club for the 2018 season.
The 19-year-old first-year player confirmed he would be back at Avalon Airport Oval for a second season and said he was looking forward to the opportunity to serve as a local representative for the team as it embarks on a new era.
“I’m really rapt with how this season went, and I can’t wait for us to go it alone and see where we can get to next year,” he said.
“I’ve always looked up to Werribee, so now that it’s standalone and representing the Wyndham region on its own, I’m more than happy to get out there and represent it as a local boy.”
A product of Wyndham-based clubs Point Cook and Werribee Districts and the Western Jets TAC Cup program, Buykx was picked up by Werribee for the 2017 season and has enjoyed a strong start to his senior career.
The 175cm small defender impressed in the 10 VFL games he played across his first year, which included a dream debut in the round four victory over the Casey Demons that saw him register a goal with his first kick in VFL football and collect 26 disposals playing out of the backline.
His season ended in disappointment, a shoulder injury in the round 17 loss to Williamstown requiring him to undergo re-constructive surgery, but Buykx is hopeful of quickly re-stablishing himself in the side and continuing to improve his game.
“I really just want to find a bit more of the footy and hopefully work up into the midfield a little bit as well as working on my defensive aspects and locking down players a bit better,” he said.
Werribee senior coach John Lamont said it was a great boost for the club to secure a talented local player as it looks to re-stablish itself as the VFL team of the Wyndham region next year.
“We’ve got a lot of blokes from right around country Victoria, so it’s really pleasing to have a local bloke,” Lamont said of Buykx.
“He’s fit into the playing group really well, and I’m really pleased he wants to continue playing the highest level of footy he can.”
Lamont said Werribee’s new status as a standalone club should serve as a big incentive for more local youngsters to aspire to follow in the footsteps of players such as Buykx.
“I think they can see the pathway there, particularly with us now being on our own,” he said.
“That’s what was great about Nick. Twelve months ago, he decided to come our way even though there was a perceived lack of opportunity. He proved that with your head down and backside up, if you work hard and apply yourself, you can still generate your own opportunities, which he did.
“But I think into the future, there are going to be more opportunities, and we’re going to have a great facility that we want local youngsters to make full use of.”
With Werribee captain Michael Sodomaco having also recommitted for season 2018, Lamont said Buykx had the perfect mentor to learn from as he looks to develop his game and push further up the ground at times.
“We want to have that flexibility, so he’s got a real role model there in Sodomaco: a small lock-down defender who can play on the ball,” he said.
“Nick is obviously still in the development phase of his footy, so it’s something he can aspire to so he has that second string to his bow.
“He’s only a little fella, of course, and the modern game is bigger blokes around the ball and more numbers. But with his speed and clean hands, there’s no reason he shouldn’t aspire to play through the midfield in time.”
Buykx joins Sodomaco, three-time best-and-fairest winner Matthew Hanson, and fellow first-year player Max Augerinos as those who have been officially announced as signed on with Werribee for 2018.