Kye Declase is developing into a Swiss Army knife-type of player for Werribee in the Victorian Football League.
Declase has embraced his role as a utility, mainly spending time as a swingman forward and back, but also pinch-hitting as a big-bodied wingman.
In the past two weeks, the former Northern Blues player has demonstrated his ability to play in all three sections of the ground.
In round 13 against Essendon, he kicked a season-best three goals, continuing his strong form in attack that has seen him kick nine goals over a six-game span.
In Saturday’s three-point loss to Collingwood at Avalon Airport Oval, Declase was released into the midfield in the second half and collected 16 disposals at 94 per cent efficiency to go with his nine marks as a key position player.
“I like to show people that I’m versatile and can play any role,” Declase said.
“I used to play as a swingman at my other club [Northern Blues] and I love doing that role.
“It shows a bit of my versatility playing as a forward who can go back or onto the wing as well.”
Declase has the physical attributes to nail the utility role.
Entering the season standing at 195cm with an 85kg frame, the 22-year-old has the height and athleticism to hold down a position as a second key tall in the forward line or defence.
With tall midfielders the flavour of the times, he has the running capacity to play on a wing.
Declase is good overhead, averaging 4.7 marks per game, but is also willing to work hard defensively as his 3.4 tackles per game would suggest.
Efficiency with ball in hand is what he prides himself on.
Overall, Declase’s form has been steady all season, which is why he has felt the most comfortable he has been in his four years at VFL level.
“I think this has been my best year,” he said.
“Playing consistent football shows that you’re reliable and coaches love that reliability.
“If you keep backing up every week, you will cement your spot.”
Declase is a willing learner, which is why he has been able to thrive in all parts of the ground.
With so many experienced coaches and teammates, Declase is keen to take advantage.
Two people in particular, senior coach Mark Williams and midfield coach Jack Fitzpatrick, have taken Declase under their wings and offered him a great deal of valuable advice.
“Mark Williams has been a real big impact on my football,” Declase said.
“With the amount of experience he’s got, he’s really shown me some tactics, getting to the right spots as a winger and as a forward.
“Jack Fitzpatrick, coming from a Hawthorn background and Melbourne [in the AFL], has given me a lot of pointers as well.
“Having those guys at your club is huge because you can really pick their brain.
“You try to learn from the best, they’ve played at that level and that’s what you aspire to be.”
Declase believes Werribee’s team offers him the best of both worlds.
There is a lot of exciting young talent meshing well with some experienced senior heads.
Declase made no secret of his desire to make it to the AFL.
He has big team goals in mind for Werribee before impressing the recruiters.
“I want to build with the team and obviously play finals and ultimately win the premiership,” Declase said.
“There’s a few players here that want to get drafted and that’s what I aspire to get.”
■ More Werribee VFL coverage on page 43