It’s been an absolutely massive 12 months for PGFC Academy product Walter Scott who made his full senior debut last season at AAMI Park and is currently playing a crucial role in the NPL side’s impressive title challenge.
The 18-year-old is a player who is always eager to learn and having risen through the ranks of the Academy, the importance of moments such as his professional debut for the club are certainly not lost on him.
“It was great to be able to develop up through the Academy here under coaches such as Callum Salmon and Bobby Despotovski," he said, "and to eventually earn a call-up to the first team was a dream come true.
“I’ve been here since I was 14 and it’s a club that I proudly associate myself with every day. I see it as an absolute privilege to be in that changing room and on that training track."
The versatile defender had been training with the youth team the morning of his first appearance for the Hyundai A-League side, which isn’t the most traditional preparation for a professional debut, but it was a moment he’ll never forget.
“Coming off the bench for my first taste of professional football against Melbourne City was amazing," he said. "It was great to get 45 minutes under my belt.
“The following week was even better. When I found out I was travelling and then starting against Victory, it was just brilliant.”
And Scott made an immediate impact during his starting debut, delivering an inch-perfect assist for Scott Neville to open the scoring with only one minute and 13 seconds on the clock.
Click HERE to see the goal.
“I was just trying to get the ball back as quickly as I could and get it back in the mixer," he recalled. "I knew we had numbers at the back post, so it was great to be able to whip in a half-decent ball to Scotty [Neville] who finished emphatically.”
In the wake of what was a watershed year for him, the teenager definitely hasn’t rested on his laurels. His leadership and dedication have been a vital part of the NPL side's imperious form this season which has left them six points clear at the top of the table with four games remaining.
“It’s been brilliant so far, but we know nothing is achieved yet,” he said.
“It’s been really different to my previous season with the Academy First Team where we struggled near the bottom of the table. There haven’t been any drastic changes, it’s just been small refinements with our detail and our processes that has really helped.
“Our physicality and aggressiveness has played a huge part in our season so far. It’s made teams show us more respect and I think it’s that attitude switch where we all feel so confident, especially going forward, having scored 63 goals already.”
The left-footer was also swift to heap to praise upon the tireless efforts of NPL Head Coach John Gibson and the culture he’s created within the squad.
“The boys probably don’t show it enough, but he does so much for us and we’re all really thankful for his work," he said.
“He’s been able to build such a close-knit group of players here; we’re all so close. All the boys know as soon as we’re on the pitch that we’re there to help each other out.
“We’ve been able to beat Bayswater away and Perth SC away, clubs we’ve never beaten before. In those games last season we would’ve been hoping for a draw or a narrow loss to keep it respectable, but that’s just not what we’re about this year. We go out and believe we can win every game and that can’t be achieved without that confidence and belief that Gibbo has instilled into the group."
With it all to play for in the remaining four games of the campaign, Scott insists that the team's approach won't change as they prepare for Saturday’s blockbuster with an Inglewood United side coached by Glory skipper Andy Keogh.
“We're really excited to take on Inglewood this weekend," he said. "It was good to be able to play at their ground this week against the WA State Team and get a feel for the pitch. In my opinion, they’re the strongest team we’ve played all year, so it should be a really good battle.
“Keogh’s always got a bit of banter whenever we play them, talking about who he’s got marking us and whatnot, but he uses it as an opportunity to coach us and help us on areas where we can improve as well. It’s quite a unique opportunity to play against a team he coaches after training alongside him every day.
“We’ll focus on our consistency and concentration as we look to get the job done come kick-off time.”
While Scott’s attention is firmly on finishing the NPL season with silverware in hand, he’s also determined to build upon last season's progress by becoming a regular fixture in the senior side.
“I just want to stay fit, train consistently and learn from guys like Jason Davidson, Matthew Spiranovic, Ivan Franjic and all the defenders, as well as everyone else at the club," he said.
“I’m going to take as much information as possible into the National Youth League campaign and hopefully push into the First Team and cement a spot by doing the best I can each week.”
You can see the up-and-coming defender in action on Saturday at the Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium when the NPL side take on Inglewood, with the game kicking off at 3pm.