Faced with wasting a year of his footballing journey, Cam Wild ventured to Adelaide with minimal plans in place — but that hasn't stopped him getting early returns across the border.
The 18-year-old who spent last season with Shepparton and the Murray Bushrangers had signed with VFL club Northern Blues and switched to Deakin Reserve co-tenant Shepparton United, but with neither the VFL nor the Goulburn Valley League going ahead, it was time for plan B — the SANFL.
Wild, who had been in contact with SANFL clubs before signing with the now-defunct Blues, got in touch with Central Districts, and barely a month after making the move made his senior debut for the Bulldogs at the weekend.
“It's been interesting, I did my two weeks of isolation and now two weeks of training,” Wild said.
“It wasn't a whole lot of preparation not being allowed to go outside, but I tried to do as much as possible, the club dropped off a bike and weights and that sort of thing.
“The Northern Blues had folded and there was no VFL happening, I really didn't want to waste a year.
“I got on the front foot a bit and called some clubs and in the end the best opportunity was to head over here. In the pre-season I'd been in touch with a few SANFL clubs, so I called back a few I'd already been in contact with.”
Wild debuted against South Adelaide on Saturday, finding 10 disposals in the Bulldogs’ disappointing 44-point loss.
He said he would be better for the run having had minimal training time in the build-up.
“It was really good, although I was a bit underdone. It was good to have a bit of a blow-out and now I'm hoping to be back better next week,” he said.
“It was very quick, good footy and plenty of big bodies.”
Wild spent last season predominantly with the Bushies, racking up 24 disposals a game to finish third in the NAB League side's best-and-fairest count and earn Victoria Country honours.
While he missed AFL draft selection, he said he would continue to do everything he could to take his game to new heights.
“Obviously the main goal would be to get drafted, but it's a great opportunity to be over here and you don't want to waste a year of development,” he said.
“I'm not too sure what I'll do next year whether that's heading to the VFL or staying in the SANFL, we'll see how the year goes.”
As for off the field, it has certainly been a — excuse the pun — wild time for the youngster, still searching for a permanent housing situation as his whirlwind year continues.
“It's really been a bit all over the shop, I've been in and out of teammates’ houses while I'm trying to organise my own place,” he said.
“It's been a bit up and down, but it's going all right, and footy has definitely been the main focus.”