Werribee has backed its top Development League player to make the transition into the single-team era, signing defender Jack Williams for season 2018.
The 22-year-old has committed to a third season at Avalon Airport Oval and Werribee’s first as a standalone VFL club in 19 years on the back of taking out the club’s Development League best-and-fairest award for 2017.
Denied a senior opportunity through a midseason adductor injury, Williams’ performances down back in his 10 Development League games last year were nonetheless enough to secure him a comfortable victory on Bruce Montgomery Trophy night, the former Camperdown star polling 17 votes after finishing among his side’s best on seven occasions.
He has also previously shown his ability to play at the VFL standard, putting in a good showing in his three senior games in his maiden 2016 season.
After a strong start to his pre-season campaign, Williams said he was excited to officially recommit to Werribee and was eager to again press his case for VFL selection following the demise of the Development League.
“It feels good to be back on board. I’m just looking forward to gtting into it this year,” he said.
“It was a bit of a limited opportunity last year. I got injured after five rounds, missed the middle part of the year, and then just started to get back into it the last five games, so I missed out on senior selection but had an all-right year in the ‘twos’.
“Now, with the Development League going, I really want to step it up this year and try to break into this senior side and keep my spot.”
A former Colac and Deakin University junior, Williams joins an ever-expanding list of Geelong Falcons TAC Cup graduates to re-commit to or sign on with Werribee for 2018.
Werribee senior coach John Lamont said he was confident the emerging backman could take the step required to earn regular VFL selection in 2018.
“Jack missed a big chunk of the season in the middle part of the year but played some really good footy and was just a little bit unlucky at the end of the year to not get a taste of it,” Lamont said.
“He’s a natural defender, which is probably a bit of a rarity. He reads the game well, can influence in the air, and generally makes pretty good decisions, so I think he can certainly make an impact.
“The formation of the defensive back half will get sorted out a bit more in the practice-match phase, so hopefully Jack can work in and learn a bit from the older guys and the guys who have been on AFL lists and stitch up his spot.”
Werribee players officially announced for 2018
Michael Sodomaco (C)