2020 was an interesting one for everyone involved: in particular, Zac Fisher.
A syndesmosis injury sustained Round 1 would’ve ordinarily seen him miss 16 rounds. Given how the year panned out, it essentially would’ve meant a whole season.
However, due to the COVID break after the opening round of games, Fisher spent only four games on the sidelines, working his way back through the reserves as a genuine small forward.
Speaking on the Dyl and Friends podcast, Fisher talked about embracing his role and how it would be one to persist with in the future.
“I really had to become a forward because I don’t think I would have had the running ability to play midfield,” Fisher said.
“I really bought into the role. In the back, I called ‘Teaguey’ and I said ‘I don’t think I’ll be playing midfield this year, but I’m going to put my mind to being the best small forward you have this year’.”
It was a big change for Fisher, who had spent the majority of his career combining stints up forward with significant time in the midfield.
Noting how hard the position was to play permanently, Fisher believed he got into his groove and became more comfortable with the role as the season went on.
“I think a lot of us young draftees at Carlton were all mids, so sometimes going forward and not getting a lot of disposals was hard to accept,” he said.
“It’s all about your mindset and not the stat board. When things go your way, I was lucky enough to hit the scoreboard in my first game back, which is the ultimate reward.
“But I think getting praised by your teammates for the other small stuff definitely makes it worth it.”
One of the big differences for Fisher this year was the presence of Eddie Betts, who Fisher relied on to help with his transition into the forward line.
“Previously, we’ve lacked a lot of leadership in that forward line, especially as a small forward,” he said.
“Eddie has been massive for both ‘Gibbo’ and I. When we went down to play small forward, we wanted to earn his respect as a small forward, so it gave us that extra motivation and belief.”
When asked if he saw a return to the midfield in the future, Fisher said he was happy to keep developing his forward craft and add some strings to his bow with his versatility.
“I think I’m going to put all my eggs in this basket at this stage,” he said.
“I really put my mind to it and I had a pretty consistent year, which I was pleased with.”