If Tom Barrass walked off the Adelaide Oval on Friday night without fully recognising the significant impact he made to the Eagles’ 29-point triumph over the Crows, he certainly found out post-game.
As the West Coast players returned to their hotel, they made sure the replay was on for all to enjoy.
“Later on when we got back to the hotel, the game was on in the background and every time Tommy took a huge mark, or made a big spoil the boys were getting around him and carrying on like idiots,” Chris Masten told Aflplayers.com.au.
“I jumped on Twitter and made sure the AFL knew he was eligible for the Rising Star and they took note which was good.”
“We got Dommy Sheed up last year because I’m not sure they knew he was eligible either.”
@AFL you guys know Tommy 'worm' Barrass is eligible for rising star yeah?
— Chris Masten (@chrismasten7) August 15, 2016
Playing in just his 12th senior game, Barrass showed the maturation of a defender well beyond his tender age.
He enjoyed a career-high 10 marks, and equalled his highest disposal tally with 17. However, it was his ability to intercept and his contest work that impressed his teammates.
“Early on you could tell just how good he was going to be,” Masten explained.
“Some of the contested marking work that he did was pretty special. We think he marks the ball better than Gov [Jeremy McGovern], and we all know how good he is.”
The Eagles have a strong core of senior defenders for the 20-year-old to learn off, with the likes of McGovern and Will Schofield being pivotal in his early development.
“Will Schofield goes under the radar a little bit, but he’s the one that really sets us up in the last line of defence. He’s been looking after Tommy since he’s been drafted which has helped him progress to the point he is at the moment.”
From the outside looking in, you could be mistaken for thinking that the youngster’s third year in the system has been a tough one.
He didn’t break into the senior side until Round 12 after playing three games in 2015, and has found himself in and out of the team.
But the relaxed youngster’s even keel nature has meant that he hasn’t become too frustrated when he’s spent time with East Perth, according to Masten.
“He’s always up and about really, regardless of where he’s playing. When he goes back and plays in the WAFL he normally dominates – we all know he’s too good to be playing at that level.”
“He played a huge game at the weekend and he’s getting plenty of accolades for it, but that won’t phase him. He’s an easy-going dude.”
“He’s going to be exciting for us, and he’s just getting bigger and bigger by the day. He’s going to be a special player for a long time.”
While things are going well on the field, his teammates have picked up on an interesting trait off it.
“It doesn’t matter what outfit he’s got on or the shoes he’s wearing, he wears footy socks with any kind of kit,” Masten joked.
“Most of the time they’re the ones from the club, so he just gets changed and chucks his shoes over the top.”