Where there’s a Will there’s a way

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” – Pauline Kael, 1919.

It’s a simple but powerful proverb, and strongly reinforces that anything in life is possible for those who dare to dream and let nothing stand in their way.

Just hold that thought for a moment, and let me digress.

I’m completely convinced that I am one of the very few people on the planet who wants the GWS Giants to succeed.

The AFL’s most recent expansion team, artificially created and stuck smack bang in the middle of nowhere – at least as far as the AFL landscape is concerned – for whatever reason have a large percentage of the population who simply cannot deal with their inevitable success.

But these people have very, very short memories.

Because I can’t even comprehend what it must have been like for a bunch of raw kids to be sent from their homes as 17 or 18-year old boys like lambs to the slaughter without any real hope or direction to get smashed up by experienced AFL beasts for the first three or four years of their existence.

Will Hoskin-Elliott was one of those young men.

But having endured the maelstrom at the Giants and becoming more mature and decisively stronger for the experience, Hoskin-Elliott has flourished with the Magpies since his decision to be traded at the end of 2016.

Because where there’s a Will, there’s a way.

As a former player myself, I can vividly recall my first year as a player with Geelong back in 1994.

An 18-year old boy, fresh out of high school, I relied heavily on father figures at the Cats like Gary Ablett Snr, Barry Stoneham, Gary Hocking, Liam Pickering, Mark Bairstow, Ken Hinkley, Paul Couch and Tim McGrath.

Without their guidance and direction, I wouldn’t have lasted five minutes in the AFL system, which makes the courage, resilience, tenacity and achievements of Magpie Will Hoskin-Elliott and his former GWS teammates all the more honourable and thoroughly deserved of acknowledgement.

“I remember one of the first games (at GWS) we got beaten by the Hawks by 160 points – it wasn’t fun.” Hoskin-Elliot says.

“But the bond you make with these guys who are all going through the same thing – all 18 year olds, all just out of school, the brotherhood you make through thick and thin was bloody tough at times but prepared us for the cut-throat nature of the AFL,” he adds.

Along with the ridiculously unfair environment of raw teenagers playing against seasoned professional men, there was also the expectation on Hoskin-Elliott’s shoulders of being a very early draft pick (selection 4 overall) and highly fancied draftee in the early stages of his career.

While he showed signs of brilliance at GWS, critics will argue (unfairly at times in my view) that he never truly delivered on his enormous potential while in Sydney.

But where there’s a Will, there’s a way.

Since being traded to the Magpies prior to the 2017 season, Will Hoskin-Elliott has never looked back.

A breakout year for Collingwood’s “Mr. Versatile,” Hoskin-Elliott thrived under Nathan Buckley across half-forward, on a wing and in defence when required.

In a career best year, which included a top-ten finish in the Copeland Trophy (Collingwood Best and Fairest) Hoskin-Elliott looked at home in any position in 2017, playing with the freedom and confidence that comes naturally to such a gifted footballer, but for whatever reason eluded him (consistently anyway) at Greater Western Sydney.

“In simple terms its just the magnitude of the Collingwood juggernaut,” Hoskin-Elliott says when asked of the differences between the two clubs.

“The facilities, the supporter base, the fans, the noise on game day, the professionalism – its just a cut above at Collingwood,” he adds.

Away from the football field, Will Hoskin-Elliott is a reliable student and just a bloody good bloke.

Shy at first, but probably more out of respect for his Collingwood teammates than anything else, Hoskin-Elliott is one of a quartet of ridiculously talented Magpies studying a Certificate III in Carpentry course at the Trade Institute of Victoria.

He joins Steele Sidebottom, Taylor Adams and Jordan De Goey in TIV’s highly regarded Carpentry program which now incorporates players from seven Victorian AFL clubs.

Although only a few months into the program, Hoskin-Elliott is a clear standout with respect to his work ethic, professionalism, reliability and determination to just get in and get it done.

“I really enjoyed doing woodwork at high school and I always thought to myself that if footy didn’t work out or wasn’t an option as a profession I’d love to become a Carpenter and ultimately a Builder,” Hoskin-Elliott says,

Where there’s a Will, there’s a way.

Despite his reserved nature, he is as sincere as he is genuine when it comes to reflecting on his experience thus far at TIV.

“Everything at TIV has been exceptional,” Hoskin Elliott says.

“We’ve only really known each other a couple of months (Collingwood group and TIV) but it’s like we’ve been friends forever,” he adds.

“We learn so much in such a short period of time and we are really enjoying what we are doing.”

Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m a strong believer that having an external interest off the football field categorically improves a players performance on it, and Will Hoskin-Elliott and his Collingwood teammates are a classic case in point.

“There is no doubt that having an interest away from the footy club helps your performance on game day,” he says.

“Look at the first two place getters in the Copeland Trophy this year being Steele (Steele Sidebottom) and Tayza (Taylor Adams) both studying the Carpentry course at TIV,” he adds.

“Then you consider Jordy (Jordan De Goey) who had a breakout second half of the year and my own form – I’ve had the best year of my career to date personally, and you start to see thats it’s probably no co-incidence that having an interest away from the club has helped our performance.”

TIV Trainer, Sean Clinch doesn’t throw praise around lightly, but is quick to acknowledge the work ethic and commitment of the Collingwood quartet.

“Those four blokes have been outstanding since joining the program at TIV,” Clinch says.

“It’s great to come to work and teach people who genuinely want to learn, and the Collingwood boys when qualified, will be a fantastic asset to the Building industry,” he adds.

Where there’s a Will, there’s a way.

Collingwood is set for big things in 2018 and beyond, and Will Hoskin-Elliott is one of the major reasons why.

But spare a thought for he and his former Giant teammates – who have been bashed up for the best part of five years since entering the AFL system as teenagers in 2012.

For Hoskin-Elliott and the talented stack of emerging GWS superstar footballers, now it’s payback time.

“I’m with you mate, I have some great former teammates at GWS and aside from my obvious priority now to win a Premiership with Collingwood, I really want to see the Giants boys do well also,” he says sincerely.

Somehow Will, I think both the clubs you have played for will figure prominently in 2018 and beyond.

And if the way you approach your Carpentry training is any indication, well it simply couldn’t happen to a better bloke.

Where there’s a Will, there’s a way.

Author: Aaron Lord

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