Every time junior footballer Will Murray got the ball, you knew something was going to happen, his under-13 teammates say. The teenage prodigy was "a freak of nature".
No longer able to stand out on the field since a devastating neck injury left him a quadriplegic, he is impressing all who visit him with his courage and mental resilience in Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital.
Will can't spend much more than five minutes in his wheelchair during the early stages of his rehabilitation, but he pushed on bravely to speak with media on Wednesday morning.
He smiled and was able to muster a thumbs-up for Richmond defender Dylan Grimes, despite the difficulty he has moving his fingers.
Grimes first met Will through his mother Emma, who works as a mindfulness coach at Richmond.
Today, Grimes visited the 14-year-old for the first time since he suffered the injury jumping off his local jetty at Half Moon Bay in Black Rock on January 17.
A tribute match will be held for Will, as a curtain-raiser before the Tigers NAB Challenge match against Port Adelaide at Etihad Stadium on March 10.
Will said he was blown away when told the AFL would host the match to raise awareness of his condition and fundraise for his future.
"I was speechless. To get a chance to be part of the AFL, it was good," he said.
"It was a pretty quick answer."
Will Murray at the Royal Children’s Hospital with father Nick and friends Luke Cleary and Josh Duscher
The curtain-raiser will be a rematch of last year’s Southern Metropolitan Junior Football League under-13 division 1 Grand Final – Murray's last game with his East Sandringham teammates.
Will's close friends and teammates at East Sandringham, Luke Cleary and Josh Duscher, will both wear his No.19 for the Zebras in their clash with East Brighton Vampires.
Both Luke and Josh, who represented Victoria at under-12 level alongside Will, said it was an honour to wear their friend's number.
Will's rehabilitation is going to be a long and difficult road, and he will be in the Royal Children's Hospital’s rehab ward for quite a few months.
Grimes said Will’s accident “hit pretty close to home”, given the Club’s personal connection with the Murray family.
“It’s a huge honour for the Richmond Football Club to be able to show our support for Will, but also his family,” Grimes said.
“To have East Brighton Footy Club and the Sandringham Footy Club, grand finalists from last year, play before us, will be something pretty special.”