Tom Boyd with his mum Anita. Photo: Anthony Johnson
AFL legend Kevin Sheedy expects No.1 draft pick Tom Boyd to have some nerves before he runs out for his first game for the GWS Giants.
It will not be in Wagga Wagga for Saturday's NAB Challenge match against St Kilda but instead at Ainslie Oval for a hit-out with the club's reserves team.
The match against an ACT invitational side continues Boyd's low-key entrance to senior football after he was the overwhelming top selection at last year's draft.
Standing at 201 centimetres and tipping the scales at 102 kilograms, the 18-year-old already has the physical attributes needed to excel at the elite level. However, the Giants have been careful to monitor his workload and have kept him in cotton wool during the pre-season.
Sheedy, who will work as a mentor with the ACT team, said the NAB Challenge had shown it took key forwards longer to shake off the rust of the off-season than did other players.
''At this time of the year big men have got to get their technique and balance right,'' he said. ''Watching the games so far you haven't seen great marking in February.
''The things you'd be looking at from Tom Boyd are, does he lead well, his bodywork, kicks coming towards him, can he actually recover and be a one-grab player at low level?
''If he takes a couple of grabs that's fantastic because he'll be nervous, it's his first game, it's the first time he's played against a bit more senior opposition, he's just come out of the under-18s.
''It's not all about size - you've got to have intelligence, you've got to have footy smarts, you've got to have team operational skills and working in with different types of players from all over Australia.''
Sheedy finds himself in the unusual position of coaching against GWS after being at their helm for their first two seasons.
He has handed the reigns to Leon Cameron and has a seat on the club's board. His main focus is assisting with recruitment and ensuring the Giants foster the talent within their development zones, which include the ACT.
While there has been a lack of Canberra players drafted in recent years, Sheedy believes the work the Giants are doing in the region will pay off. ''For me it's about assisting the development of ACT players, along with making sure we have some good kids coming through along with the under-23s. Lots of different areas have quiet periods of talent coming through.
''Eventually it will lead to more players getting drafted, kids will get inspired and all of a sudden you'll see a few more come through.''
Boyd will be joined by a host of senior-listed players in the GWS Giants team, including Stephen Gilham, Will Hoskin-Elliott and Zac Williams.
GWS Giants Reserves v ACT at Ainslie Oval, 11.30am.