Young Giant Zac Williams has achieved a lot in football over the past 12 months.
Last September, aged just 17, he was judged best afield in his hometown Narrandera’s victory in the Riverina Football League Grand Final.
Then December saw him snapped up by the Giants as a zone selection in the rookie draft. That was followed by an elevation to the senior list for a debut in round five.
And if that wasn’t enough, he’s been awarded the round 19 NAB AFL Rising Star nomination after an eye-catching performance in the Giants’ drought-breaking win over Melbourne.
In only his eighth senior game, the 18-year-old racked up 21 possessions, five marks and three tackles while setting up many forward thrusts from half-back.
“I wasn’t really expecting the nomination but I was told in a meeting this morning in front of all the boys so I was really proud to get it,” Williams told AFL.com.au.
“I didn’t really expect too much from this season but I’ve worked hard to get my spot in the side and all the hard work is really paying off.”
Life hasn’t always been this rosy for Williams, as his father passed away when he was just six, leaving his mother to raise him and his sister by herself while juggling a career in teaching.
“I owe everything to my mum, so everything I’m achieving now is just as much a credit to her as it is to me.” he said.
“I hope she is very proud of me.”
Someone who is definitely very proud of Williams is his coach Kevin Sheedy
“Zac Williams is a fantastic story. A young indigenous lad from the Giants’ zone in the Riverina who has come through the Slater & Gordon Giants Academy and has been promoted from our rookie list this year to play senior football,” Sheedy said.
“He is not only able to find the ball but he has terrific game sense and has provided us with a lot of run and shown he is more than capable at this level with his performances this year and particularly the last two weeks against Collingwood and Melbourne.”
That game against the Magpies underlined to Williams just how tough life in the AFL is.
“I played on Jarryd Blair and Steele Sidebottom, who are massive workhorses, and they just run all day, so it showed how important it is to play four quarters and run a whole game out.” he said.
With only four games left in the Giants’ 2013 campaign, Williams’ goal for the remainder of the season is simple.
“I just want to finish the year off well by playing good, consistent footy, and that will set me up for next year.”