New Dog, same name and ‘a few more tricks’

It was a decade ago, when Scott West was in the final season of his 16-year career at the highest level, that his eldest son, Rhylee, told him he wanted to play in the AFL.

On Wednesday, a casually dressed, supremely fit-looking Scott stood next to his son and introduced him to the football world, officially another Bulldog.

Rhylee, who was drafted to the kennel at pick 26 after a bid from Melbourne, starts his career with the same jumper number as his father, albeit 324 games behind.

West will wear number 14 for the Bulldogs, the number his dad wore in his first two seasons at Footscray before changing to the now-famous seven.

“It’s pretty special to be here 10 years later and call it my own home,” Rhylee said with a smile.

And there’s more: Bulldogs Rhylee and Scott West.Credit:Eddie Jim

“I’m a right-footer. I obviously didn’t get dad’s genes in the kicking area but similar to him – hard midfielder that likes to go in for the ball and also likes to go forward and kick a goal.

“I guess similar to dad … with a few more tricks.”

No one’s suggesting that he’s a better kick than his old man, though.

“He might have that one over me … just,” he said with a grin.

West understands the pressures that come with having a legendary footballer as a father.

But he praised his dad for taking a back seat throughout his junior career.

“He was good. Obviously you get some psycho parents these days but he was good. He just sat on the sidelines and let me do my thing and play footy.

“He doesn’t bombard me with things. He’s pretty nice like that.”

Scott remembers the moment as an eight-year-old when Rhylee told him of his desire to follow in his footsteps.

“The competitiveness in him showed me that he really wanted to make it, particularly from a young age,” he said.

“He’s really made a mark on how he can play and really set a standard for himself.”

That’s high praise from not just a dad but also a seven-time Charles Sutton medallist at the Bulldogs.

West turned heads in Vic Metro’s first game of the under-18 championships, collecting 25 disposals to go with his 10 clearances, nine tackles and a goal.

And he didn’t look back, going on to average 22 disposals – 11 contested – and five clearances in a superb year.

Scott said he wasn’t nervous that the Bulldogs wouldn’t take him, confident that Rhylee could forge his own path, wherever he ended up.

And there could be more footballing Wests to come, with Rhylee one of four football-loving boys, along with twins Kobi and Cooper, and Levi.

“The twins are 15 and Levi’s 10 and they love their footy. It’s all ahead of them," Scott West said.

“The little one is starry-eyed now. He’s got bragging rights that his older brother is an AFL-listed player.”

A journalist interrupted: "But Scott, surely young Levi had branging rights before Rhylee was drafted?"

“No, most of the kids he goes to school with wouldn’t know who I was … but I remind them.”

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