ZAC Fisher was left wanting more this pre-season.
After 55 games in three years, he was intent on taking his game to another level — to the next level.
Having gone through his return from a broken leg 12 months beforehand, he knew how difficult it was to play catch-up and go ahead of the teammates he’s competing with for a spot.
He wanted to hit the ground running, physically and mentally. Luckily, there was someone at the Club who was more than willing to take him under his wing.
While players across the AFL generally go on holidays overseas during the off-season, Fisher had a ‘holiday’ of his own — with the Stanton family.
“’Stants’ and I are quite close. We built a really good relationship in my second year and he has really invested in me,” Fisher told Carlton Media.
“He wanted to help me get better and one of my improvement areas was my running. We decided for me to stay in Melbourne and do some extra running with him,
“He was on a family holiday and he actually invited me. For him to welcome me into his family was great.”
In his 255 games for Essendon, Brent Stanton made a name for himself as one of the best gut-runners in the game.
Now the midfield assistant coach at Ikon Park on a permanent basis, Fisher was full of praise for the man who took him under his wing in the lead-up to pre-season.
“He had seen what I had done previously hadn’t really worked, so for him to be able to do that with me and help me along the way… he’s really invested in this group,” he said.
“Coming off a broken leg the year before, I found the pre-season was really tough. I was always playing catch-up.
“To come back in personal-best fitness has set up a really good pre-season. I recorded a personal best in my first two-kilometre time trial back.”
Strength in numbers. ?— Carlton FC (@CarltonFC) January 21, 2020
There's a variety of new faces rolling through our midfield group in pre-season. Assistant coach Brent Stanton provides a comprehensive update.#BoundByBlue
The supremely talented Fisher was realistic about the demands heading into his fourth season.
Previously speaking of his intentions to secure a mid-forward role in 2020, he set out to improve his aerobic capacity for the upcoming season.
“I’m on the front foot now and I’m able to play to my strengths for longer,” he said.
“I think my good is good, but when I got fatigued that was when I was starting to show a bit of a drop-off. If I can play to my strengths for longer, that will definitely help me this year.
“[The program with Stanton] set the tone for me, definitely.”