West Coast defender Tom Barrass will be aiming for payback when he takes on Western Bulldogs forward Tom Boyd in next week’s elimination final at Domain Stadium.
Boyd kicked three goals on Barrass within the first 10 minutes of the match when they squared off in an Under-18 National Championship game in 2013.
Luckily for Barrass, Boyd injured his ankle while taking a mark for what could have been his fourth goal, and played no further part in the match.
Barrass has flown largely under the radar since being taken with pick No.43 in the 2013 AFL national draft.
But his standout performance against the Crows last week has thrust him into the national spotlight.
Barrass earned a Rising Star nomination for his 17-disposal, 10-mark display, and he was quick to reminisce about his one and only battle against Boyd.
Such was Boyd’s presence, Barrass mistakenly thought the former No.1 draft pick had actually kicked four or five goals on him that day, rather than three.
“He got off to a flyer, and was bombing them from everywhere,” Barrass said.
“It was me and (Sydney’s) Aliir Aliir (playing on him).
“We were trying to convince each other to go on him. I think I got him in the end.
“It’s the only time I’ve played on him, so I might owe him one.”
Boyd has struggled for form since making a big-money switch to the Bulldogs at the end of 2014.
The 21-year-old has booted just 10 goals in 11 games this season, and was held goalless in last week’s shock loss to Fremantle in Perth.
Boyd also hurt his ankle in that match, but was able to play out the game and is expected to front up against the Eagles on Thursday week.
West Coast enter the match in the hottest of form after beating Greater Western Sydney, Hawthorn, and Adelaide in consecutive weeks.
Barrass and Jeremy McGovern have formed a potent combination in defence, with their strong aerial talents proving crucial.
The pair have been given a licence to work off their opponents to make important intercepts whenever they see fit.
“It’s something that is a bit of a punt. But it’s live and die by the sword really,” Barrass said.
“I learn a lot off Gov. He’s probably the best backman in the game. He reads the play really well. He teaches me about the cues you need to read.”
Barrass has put on about 12kg since he was drafted in 2013.
But he admits it took him a while to realise the work ethic needed to become an elite footballer.