OVER the last few rounds, Sam Docherty has swapped his the half-back role he knew so well for a spot in the wing.
From a personal standpoint, as well as the impact it has had on a teammate, it's been a tick.
Averaging just shy of 25 disposals on the wing, Docherty's move up the ground has seen Zac Williams return to the defensive half, a position he was very familiar with at the Giants.
The change has been welcome to Docherty, who has relished the challenge of learning a new, fast-paced role across the wing.
“It’s always a new challenge, a change of position: it’s been pretty much all wing but that gets me up near the stoppage,” Docherty said.
“It’s been awesome for ‘Zaccy’ [Williams] to go back and find some comfort in the backline where he’s played a lot of really good footy and we’ve seen a glimpse of what he’s going to bring.”
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In his All-Australian year of 2017, Docherty did mix his customary role across half back with the occasional centre bounce, but it's been across the wing where he has settled in since the Melbourne game in Round 9.
In terms of how his new role differs from his back-half role, Docherty said the most noticeable change was the insistent physical pressure around the contest, which his body needed to adjust to.
“I’m usually running around the backline trying to set up and position the ground whereas on the wing, you’re a lot closer to the stoppages, there’s a lot more stoppages, a lot more tackling and contested possessions,” he said.
“I’ve taken a little bit of adjusting to the body over the last couple of weeks, but it’s something that I’m really enjoying, it’s a new part of the game that I can bring to the team.”
Docherty is happy that he can give it his best shot in a new role, giving his fellow teammates the best chance to flourish around the ground in the process.
The positional shift of Docherty higher up the ground also coincided with Nic Newman's return across half back.
"I’m happy to do whatever the team needs me to do and I’ll just do my best in that role," he said.
"That’s all we ask of our other players, so as a leader, being able to represent what that looks like at the moment has been really pleasing."
Another positive for Docherty was his ability to work even closer alongside his fellow co-captain Patrick Cripps, as well as broadening his understanding of the midfield.
“ It’s been good to see [Cripps] up close in the midfield: he’s a big tough guy in there and he’s good to play around,” he said.
“We probably talk more about the midfield now: my eyes used to glaze over when he talks about the stoppages a lot of the time when I’ve been down in the backline.
“'Crippa' and I work really well together. We’re really close, we speak so much about the game, the Club and just our personal lives that we’re always on the same page which is awesome.”