Bulldog wants bite at Manuka
Bulldog Jason Tutt. Photo: Paul Rovere
Jason Tutt has unfinished business on Manuka Oval and is desperate to get back there.
The Canberra product was part of Ainslie's grand final loss to Belconnen in 2009 before the Western Bulldogs snapped him up in the AFL draft two months later.
Since then the Bulldogs have played three games at Manuka without Tutt and he's been itching to return to his old stomping ground.
He didn't make his AFL debut until round 22 last year - when he slotted three goals with his first three kicks - and was playing with the Bulldogs' VFL affiliate Williamstown when the AFL side played Greater Western Sydney for the Prime Minister's Cup at Manuka earlier this year.
This season Tutt was cruelled by injuries, with hamstring and knee problems limiting him to just five AFL games late in the round robin.
It makes 2013 a big year for the Tuggeranong junior, who comes off contract at the end of next season.
Tutt said he was fully fit and using the pre-season to stake his claims to play NAB Cup and then round one.
He wants to establish himself in the team and play his first AFL game on Manuka Oval when the Bulldogs take on the Giants on July 6.
Tutt has done yoga and pilates to try to put his hamstring troubles behind him.
''When I got drafted the game I was eyeing off [round 8 Bulldogs v Sydney Swans], it was around my birthday, that was at Manuka and I said I wanted to play in that, but I didn't get there,'' he said.
''Each year goes by and I miss the game and I think, I just want to play in front of friends and family and the football community there and just show everyone how much I've developed and grown and put on a bit of a show for Canberra.''
The 21-year-old has talked to coach Brendan McCartney about what he needs to do to make his goals a reality and it boils down to two key areas - consistency and contested footy.
His outside game - his run and carry - is his strength, but he needs to work on the in-and-under side.
''Hitting my targets consistently with my kicking or skills, contested footy has always been something I'll need to work on and that will continue for the rest of my career … but it's also knowing what my strengths are and playing to those,'' Tutt said. ''Going out there and taking the game on and using my pace and kicking the ball well.''
Tutt was taken in the 2009 draft, while Giants' defender Josh Bruce was taken as a zone selection by the fledgling club the following year. Since then it has been a draft drought in the ACT.
But Tutt believes it is just a matter of building the talent pool in Canberra.
The sheer number of boys playing football in the traditional southern states, and Victoria in particular, meant most of the players were going to come from there.
If the Giants can inspire a new generation of players then more youngsters from the ACT will get picked. ''If you look at the guys from Victoria, you've got thousands of kids to choose from for two Victoria [under-18] teams and you've got 500 kids to pick from for a NSW team,'' Tutt said.