From the moment Andrew Raines met a young Bailey Scott through the Gold Coast Suns Men’s Academy he knew he was going to be a special talent.
Despite being lightly-framed, Scott’s capacity to cover the ground at the under-16 level was noticeable to the Academy coach.
“His running ability and his skills stood out from that age,” Raines told AFLPlayers.com.au after Scott’s Round 1 Rising Star nomination.
Meticulous in his preparation, Raines had little doubt Scott would settle in to life at the elite level although he hoped it would have been on the Gold Coast.
Scott is the son of former Roo and Geelong player Rob, who played over 100 games for both clubs giving Bailey the option to nominate his preferred destination.
He nominated North Melbourne before being selected with pick 49 in last year’s National Draft.
Raines said Scott was ahead of his years in comparison to other players who have come through the talent pathway.
“Bailey was super professional at a young age and a very mature young man,” the former Richmond, Brisbane and Gold Coast player said.
“He knew what he wanted and was very goal-oriented and driven. It was never a challenge for me to try and motivate him in that way.”
Scott is motivated off the field too, balancing his draft year with his final year of school.
It was a balance that Raines said helped him to get the best out of himself but it came as no surprise.
“He’s a very cool, calm and collected head,” he said.
“He has the ability to think through situations and every game that I coached him he was always leading the way in terms of leadership.
“There is that element of natural smarts and intelligence both on and off the field with Bailey.”
It was during the Allies under-18 championship game against WA in July last year when Raines knew Scott would be a hidden gem in the draft pool.
“That was probably the most balanced, overall performance I’d seen from him,” Raines said.
“We’d been working on his ability to win the contested ball and it came in to fruition that game.”
After amassing a game-high 30 disposals in the Allies loss Raines knew Scott had ticked enough boxes to be firmly in the minds of recruiters.
Although he worked hard and had a successful National Championships campaign, Scott’s year was not without challenges.
As his draft status rose so did the attention he faced from opposition teams.
“The extra attention he got was a real challenge for him but he responded to that really well even though it was a tough time for him,” Raines said.
“Overcoming that and putting in the year he had showed he could make it at the next level.”
It came as no surprise for Raines to see Scott make an impact in his first AFL game after seeing his coming of age last year.
“He always had the ability to play AFL football and make an impact,” he said.
“Watching him and his ability to find the footy and get involved, I’m really proud.”
AFL RISING STAR NOMINEES IN 2019
Round 1 — Bailey Scott (NMFC)