Jumping straight into the 2020 AFL draft season right after exams, Will Phillips was quickly drafted as pick #3 to North Melbourne Football Club. Heading into the workforce and mixing with mainly older adults with well-established careers, families and independence has been a daunting change for Will. Still, it has prompted a lot of personal growth that Will is incredibly grateful for and proud of.
Stepping straight into AFL
Securing a spot as an AFL player straight after his Caulfield Grammar days ended was a dream come true for Will Phillips. It’s an opportunity not open to many, and one that Will knows is incredibly special.
“It’s super exciting, what I’m doing. Not everyone steps into their dream job straight away, so I’m making the most of every bit of it”.
The pressures it has come with, namely of being a high scrutinised sport and working with older adults, haven’t been easy to face.
Even still, Will has loved the amazing chance he has been given, and is more than grateful. He has used this time to focus on learning about himself and how the world works. In his words, his attitude to “just be a sponge and try to soak everything up” has meant he is proud of the young adult he is growing into, and the lessons he’s gaining along the way.
Image credit: North Melbourne Football Club
Finding balance in the off-season
Now that he’s in the off-season, Will has reverted back to the habits and routines he implemented when covid was interrupting his 2020 VCE. Staying on top of this structure not only provides mental health benefits but allows Will to still experience that sense of accomplishment he does when involved in an AFL match training regime.
Knowing his worth outside of AFL
Embracing young adulthood has been a prime focus for Will outside of his football career. He prides himself on knowing he’s not just a footballer; that he has many interests and hobbies outside of football.
“Right now, I’m a footballer, but I have a lot more to me as well”.
Will was apprehensive about only being known as a footballer during his time at Caulfield Grammar. While it remained his central passion, Will branched out with opportunities through the theatre program, academics and leadership. This willingness to try new avenues helped him become a well-rounded person, and is a perspective that carries through into his post-high school life.
“I’ve put that all down to my time at the school. How it forced me to step outside my comfort zone, try new things, be a bigger person.”
Image credit: Aussie Rules Draft Central
The CGA – a way to stay connected
The Caulfield Grammarians Association has been a great way for Will to stay connected with his Caulfield Grammar community. Will often comes down to Caulfield Grammarians Football Club games and enjoys supporting the team. He loves engaging with the CGA through social media, watching alumni stories and conversations.
“I always look at them and think, maybe I could be on there one day”.
Will remains passionate about his experience at Wheelers Hill. The CGA is a great way for him to exercise this passion and be a part of the community he grew up with.
“Some of the past students’ businesses, just knowing they went to Caulfield Grammar, I feel that connection. Like a spiritual connection. I’ll hold that with me for the rest of my life”.
A word of advice
On leaving advice to those passing through the Caulfield Grammar gates after him, Will Phillips recommends throwing yourself into the deep end and prioritising your own personal growth. There are always an abundant amount of lessons to be learned, no matter what the journey looks like.
“Be able to look back and be proud of who you are. So step out of your comfort zone. It’s a fun time of your life, so make the most of it”.
We wish Will the best of luck as he continues his Australian rules football journey and can’t wait to watch him in many more 2022 AFL matches.
Hear more from Will Phillips through his video interview.
Want to keep reading about our Wheelers Hill graduates? Lachlan Kellaway is a passionate physiotherapist and his family has had a lasting impact on the Grammarian football community.