Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Willis makes most of chance to bag six goals

Shepparton forward Daniel Willis stepped up to fill the void of injured Justin Maddern to kick six goals in Goulburn Valley's interleague success over Ballarat.

DAMEN FRANCIS May 26, 2014 3:15am

Daniel Willis grabbed his chance with both hands to kick six goals for Goulburn Valley in its victory over Ballarat.

Daniel ‘‘Brucey’’ Willis’ Goulburn Valley Football League career is only six games old, but he is already something of a hero.

The Shepparton forward booted six goals in Goulburn Valley’s AFL Victoria Country Championships win against Ballarat on Saturday, including a goal after the siren that took the final margin to 65 points.

Willis, 23, may be new to the league, but didn’t hesitate to pull on the purple and gold representative jumper, alongside Bears teammate Ash Holland, who was a late inclusion.

‘‘The last two years I played for Murrumbeena in the Southern Football League and they didn’t have interleague, so when they asked me if I would be interested I jumped at the chance,’’ Willis said.

‘‘I got a lot of messages of support during the week from everyone at Shepp and quite a few of the boys came down to watch.

‘‘Jason Wells is the coach of the under-18 team and he’s done that for a few years, so he gave me a bit of a heads up on what to expect and what it’s like and how good it is to represent the league.

‘‘It’s definitely the highest standard of footy I’ve played, I’ve never won a footy premiership or anything like that, so it’s right up there (in career highlights).’’

The 190cm key forward kicked 93 goals in the SFL last year and has been in the Bears’ best in all but one of their five games this season, with nine goals.

On Saturday, Willis started in the forward line rotation for Goulburn Valley, playing mainly as a small high half-forward alongside the likes of marking targets Daniel Lewis, Justin Maddern and Nick Warnock.

A toe injury forced Maddern out of the game late in the second term and Willis was the main beneficiary.

Lewis pushed further up the ground, with Willis playing out of the square and booted five second-half goals to finish with six for the day.

Willis said he was happy flying under the radar, but conceded those days could be over.

‘‘Rhys (O’Sullivan) the Shepp captain came down to watch and was saying I was getting too many kicks, I should have come off at half-time and not gone back out so no-one knows who I am,’’ he said with a laugh.

‘‘He’s probably right I should have just laid low, but I was fortunate enough to get on the end of a couple which was nice.

‘‘(The last goal) was a bit of icing on the cake, the boys were pretty happy about it, but I’m just glad we got the win.’’

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