The 28 year old was drafted by the Dogs with their 20th pick in 2002 from Norwood in the SANFL. The 198cm veteran currently leads the AFL in hitouts and is averaging over 113 SuperCoach points per game, ranking him inside the top twenty for 2013.
During a press conference this week Minson appropriately addressed the consistency question marks that have plagued his Bulldogs since their string of three consecutive unsuccessful Preliminary Final appearances from 2008 to 2010.
In all fairness however, it should be noted that Minson himself has proven to be one of the Western Bulldogs’ most consistent performers this season. He has played all seven games, tallied over 32 hitouts and scored over 93 SuperCoach points in every match.
However, he and his teammates find themselves in the midst of a six game losing streak and languishing in 16th place on the ladder.
“The inconsistency is the frustration of a young team and that is something we are seeking to address.”
Minson played in all three of those heart-breaking Preliminary Final losses which no doubt helped prove the importance of effort, team work, longevity and consistency during his formulative years in the league.
Strangely it seemed to be his maturity and discipline that required attention.
During his AFL tenure Minson found himself out of favour with the football world on more than one occasion due to some poorly chosen on-field words. The unwell son of Port Adelaide’s Kane Cornes and the mother of (then Port player) Danyle Pearce have each been targets of allegedly inexcusable sledges on separate occassions. This behaviour has been labeled as baffling by those that know Minson personally.
His away-from-football activities have been widely reported, painting a picture that strongly contradicts the dying stereotype of a brutal, lumbering football meathead.
Along with speaking German, playing the saxophone and studying Civil Engineering, Minson has proudly attended trips to educate underprivileged children throughout Australia, Fiji and India on health and sanitation themes with charity Red Dust for nearly a decade.
It seems to have taken a load of hard work and time, however Minson’s football seems to finally be doing the talking.
Following a particularly demanding outing against West Coast in Round 6 which saw him go head to head against the combined efforts of talented Eagles’ threesome Nic Naitanui, Dean Cox and Cam Sinclair, Minson’s coach Brendan McCartney was full of praise.
“'We're having to leave him in the ruck a fair bit of the time but Will's the sort of ruckman that suits. The more he grinds away the better he seems to handle it.”
However, McCartney was then quick to point out that his big-man’s all-around game still needs some work.
“'The really good ruckmen, they are multi-faceted in that they slip forward and take marks. They link up around the ground. That's what the best ruckmen do.”
There is a long season ahead for the Bulldogs and for Minson but the challenge for both is the same; to compete strongly against all opponents in all quarters.
Among the AFL’s genuine ruckmen Minson currently ranks first in hitouts, third in kicks, ninth in handballs and fifth in tackles.
Despite having not kicked a goal and pressure from other quality talls, considering his individual workload and on-field performances to date, Minson is surely in All-Australian contention with one third of the season already in the books.
If successful it would be a welcomed string to an already crowded bow.