“Big Billy” Stanlake towers at an impressive 204cm and is set to be unleashed by the Gold Coast Dolphins and Queensland Bulls this season after overcoming a raft of injuries which plagued his junior career.
The 20-year-old has clocked speeds of up to 145km/h in the nets and with a touch of swing in his repertoire he could be a surprise weapon for the Bulls this summer.
A former Australian under-19 representative, Stanlake did not play a match during the entire 2014-15 season, his first as a Bulls rookie, due to stress fractures in his back. He has put together an injury-free pre-season and is raring to go.
“When I was around 16 I had a big spurt and I’ve been about the same height since then,” Stanlake said.
“The most important thing for me is to stay fit and healthy. I try to not worry too much about being selected.
“As long as you worry about what you’re doing, the rest will take care of itself.’’
Stanlake is the same height as Garner, the legendary quick who terrorised batsmen during West Indies’ glory days in the 1980s.
His brother Jack was an inaugural signing for the Gold Coast Suns but returned to cricket before cracking the AFL.
The Stanlakes play grade cricket for the Gold Coast Dolphins and Billy says he is ready to launch his domestic career.
“I’m feeling really good. I’ve been training smarter rather than going too hard,” he said.
“It’s been more measured. That’s been a big part of me getting through five months.
“A couple of years ago I changed my action and I’ve been able to swing the ball a bit.’’
Queensland launched their season on Wednesday and the Bulls will begin their campaign with a one-day clash against Tasmania at the Gabba on October 5.
Wicketkeeper Chris Hartley said it was only a matter of time before Stanlake joined the likes of Ben Cutting and Luke Feldman in Queensland’s pace attack.
“You only have to look at Billy’s stature to realise he has huge potential,” Hartley said.
“When everything clicks he’s our quickest bowler and gets nice outswing on the ball.
“The ingredients are there for him to be a very dangerous fast bowler. If everything keeps heading in the direction it’s been, he’s going to play a lot of first class cricket and beyond.’’