IT'S one way for a youngster to earn instant respect from senior teammates.
Turvey Park teenager Baxter Wallett could have shied away from the contest as Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong big man Riley Corbett came steaming at him, but he held his ground and took the whack.
The heavy collision in the 113-point loss in round 11 cost him a game with a sore shoulder, but it justified coach Michael Mazzocchi's decision to elevate the 17-year-old to seniors this year.
Wallett has kicked 11 goals in five games thus far, with his ability to lead well and also take pack marks making him difficult to shut down.
He will be a key up forward when the sixth-placed Bulldogs host Collingullie-Glenfield Park in a virtual do-or-die match at Maher Oval on Saturday.
"It was a really courageous contest really from him. It is indicative of what he's done since he's come in," Mazzocchi said of the Corbett collision.
"He's taken some great pack marks and shown no signs of any intimidation or letting teammates lead in front of him, he's just taken the game on.
"He had every right to back out of that contest but he didn't, it just gives us more conidence he's going to hold his position in any contest."
Mazzocchi said Wallett has responded well to elevating his training load in order to justify his elevation to the seniors.
"His training probably wasn't to the standard of senior football. I worked with him saying I wanted to give him an opportunity but he had to earn it," Mazzocchi said.
"He put in four good weeks of good solid training where he didn't miss a session and gave him some other things to work on too, more around when he doesn't have the football.
"He's outperformed where I thought he was at. His leading patterns are great, he's got a real knowledge of where to lead and predicting where to lead.
"He's done really well in the under-17s but to be honest he's play just as well in seniors, and that's maybe on the back of some better delivery at that level."
Wallett said his goal was to break into seior football this year, and bagging two goals in a heavy defeat on debut against Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes, followed by four against Wagga Tigers the next week, eased the nerves.
"I've got plenty of support from the coaches, and the blokes around me have made me real confident with my footy," he said.
"I feel like I've been playing my part and doing what I can for the team.
"He (Mazzocchi) has made me work a lot harder to get where I am now, and given me a lot more confidence."
The Bulldogs hope to welcome back ruckman Shaun Allan (knee) after a long absence, while Truman Carroll (back, hamstring) is also available.
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