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Patience pays off for Goodes

CLUBS and coaches like to espouse perseverance. Whether that be short-term, as in winning the next contest on the field, or longer-term ambitions of claiming that coveted flag, it's about maintaining the focus.

In Brett Goodes, the younger brother of Sydney champion Adam, the Western Bulldogs have the embodiment of perseverance.

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Taken in the rookie draft on Tuesday, Goodes, after a strong season with the Bulldogs' VFL affiliate Williamstown, has finally secured a spot at an AFL club. Not that he wasn't already involved, having been the Bulldogs' welfare manager in recent times.

Now it will be up to his replacement to help the players deal with such issues as housing and employment, although Goodes, 28 and four years younger than Adam, is of the right nature to continue to keep a close eye on his mates.

That was one reason why he was drafted. Not only does he have the dash, strength and kicking skills to push for a senior berth, he believes possibly off the half-back line or up forward, but his role will also be to help guide the young players at training, particularly when a strong work ethic is required.

As he waited for a stint in the high-altitude chamber at Victoria University, Goodes was clearly a delighted man, having elbowed former Bomber Brent Prismall for the rookie spot.


''I didn't think it was an option in the last couple of years,'' he said of turning an AFL dream into a reality.

''I was more focused on my work, especially with the Bulldogs boys. I really love what I do, working in the welfare area. I didn't think too much about it. I was just trying to play good VFL footy.''

That he did, and had for a long time. He was a part of North Ballarat's VFL flags in 2008-09, falling just shy of claiming the Liston Trophy in '08. This season he was named on a back flank in the VFL's team of the year.

It completes a rise Goodes had hoped would come his way a decade ago when he was with North Ballarat in the TAC Cup. When that didn't eventuate, he opted to hit the road, having spells in the SANFL, in Darwin, an opportunity to play practice matches with North Melbourne and a successful career with North Ballarat.

''In that time the penny dropped for me actually how hard you have to work,'' Goodes said.

Goodes emerged ahead of Prismall in recent days, and was told of his elevation on Monday afternoon. Having already been working for the club, he felt he had an advantage.

''Obviously, knowing all the players and staff helped. It never felt like it was cutthroat for me. It was a win-win. I was going to get fit and play with the boys anyway,'' he said.

''The reason I was picked was because contested footy is obviously how we want to play at the Bulldogs, and that is probably one of my strengths - putting the head in the hole when I have to and winning the hard ball.''

Prismall could yet remain at the Bulldogs in both a pure football sense (Williamstown) and could yet replace Goodes in the player welfare role should he apply.

''We would absolutely encourage Brent to be a part of this process given he has shown himself to be an individual of great character and strength,'' Bulldogs football manager James Fantasia said.