Young Crow Lachlan Sholl has only been at West Lakes for the past 20 months but has already left an indelible mark on his teammates.
Senior leaders Tom Doedee and Brodie Smith both spoke glowingly of the latest Crows debutant and his commitment to getting better.
Doedee, who hosted Sholl at his home when he first arrived in Adelaide at the end of 2018, said the 20-year-old’s progression has been incredible to witness firsthand.
“From day one when you first got to the club, you were up in the gym,” Doedee said during Sholl’s guernsey presentation at Adelaide Oval last Wednesday.
“You were living with me, but I couldn’t get you home because you were upstairs kicking with Neddy or on the shed floor doing extras.
“More and more time has passed, and you’ve continually got better at your extras, you’ve become a better footballer.”
Smith described Sholl as “one of those guys who loves to learn and get better”, declaring the Victorian as one of the best kicks he has seen.
He also revealed Sholl was in regular contact with coach Matthew Nicks and the senior leadership group during the recent coronavirus shutdown period, seeking to learn as much as he could about structures.
Sholl’s desire to familiarise himself with the team’s structures came off the back of a positional change to the wing at the start of the calendar year.
The Calder Cannons product wanted to ensure he was “ready to go if I was lucky enough to get a chance”, which was certainly the case from the opening bounce against the Demons.
By quarter time, Sholl had five disposals, four contested possessions, two clearances, one inside 50 and one rebound 50 to his name while operating at 100 per cent efficiency.
“I was nervous going into the game a little bit, but when you get there you realise that you’ve done the work and you’ve earned the spot,” Sholl told AFC Media.
“Being able to go out there and just play footy was awesome.
“To have the crowd there was a massive bonus. There were times when the crowd would go up and be up and about, and you’d sorta look around and go ‘this is incredible’. I loved every second.”
Sholl’s ability to hit targets on either leg was a standout early in the game, with the young Crow confirming he is a natural right-footer.
Not surprisingly, the secret to his versatility comes from countless hours honing his kicking – something he continues doing even now as a full-time AFL footballer.
“I’m a right-footer, but I’ve done a lot of work with both sides. I’m pretty comfortable on both,” Sholl said.
“I used to always go for kicks with dad when I was really young, and I just used to love kicking.
“I got to an age where I just loved footy and I just wanted to try everything, so I’d go down to the park with dad and spend hours just kicking, playing kick to kick.
“It’s really important to keep up the skills that you’ve picked up throughout juniors.”
Sholl said he would love to feature in Adelaide’s final seven games this season, but right now his focus remains on what he can contribute for the team on a weekly basis.
“I’d love to get picked this week. Another cliché but just take it week by week, making sure that I’m doing everything in that game,” Sholl said.
“If I am lucky enough to get picked, making sure I’m doing everything I can to have an impact and earn the respect of my teammates.”