Sam Wright has signed a new deal for North Melbourne
I can't describe the feeling and emotion after that game (the loss to Adelaide)
NORTH Melbourne has reaffirmed its faith in Sam Wright, re-signing the utility to the end of 2015 despite his slow start to this season.
Wright, 22, has missed just one game in 2013, through a minor knee injury, but has yet to find the consistency that saw him finish 10th in North's 2012 best and fairest award.
No one knows better than Wright he has yet to hit his best form this season. He told AFL.com.au on Thursday he was determined to repay the faith North had shown him.
"I'm not shying away from the fact I've had a poor start to the season," Wright said.
"I had a pretty consistent season in the backline last year, but have been struggling in the mid/forward role this year.
"In a sense, I'm still trying to adjust. So much has changed with our structural set-up in the forward line since I played there in my second season (2010).
"But I'm in my fifth year at the club now and I need to stand up and play consistent footy."
In addition to his new role, Wright entered 2013 off a limited pre-season, a foot injury restricting his training until just before Christmas.
Wright does not use that as an excuse for his current form, saying he feels he is now approaching peak fitness.
Wright also stresses he is "loving" the challenge of playing as a high half-forward alongside teammates Leigh Adams and Brent Harvey, a role that has occasionally seen him tag defensive playmakers such as Hawthorn's Grant Birchall and West Coast's Shannon Hurn.
Wright realises his versatility is one of his greatest strengths and aspires to be like one of the competition's best utilities, Bomber Brendon Goddard.
Wright had a memorable clash with Goddard in round 14 last year, limiting the then-Saint's influence from half-back and kicking a late goal that put the Roos' 33-point win beyond doubt. He says he learned a lot from the experience.
"It is challenging to play in a variety of different roles, it can sometimes be unsettling to be moved around," Wright says.
"But Brendon Goddard is someone I really look up to for his ability to play anywhere. He's shown if you can really master the utility role, you become such an asset to your team.
"I still don't know which position I'm going to end up in, but being able to play in the backline, as a forward and on the wing can only help me and the team."
Wright has played 61 games since North took him with pick No. 27 in the 2008 national draft. The Roos have invested heavily in the draft since 2006 and now have 12 players aged between 20-25 who have played 40-90 games.
Wright says North's younger players have formed a very "tight" group and are excited about what they can achieve together in future seasons.
However, Wright is just as excited about what North can achieve in 2013 despite its 3-6 start.
Wright says North's after-the-siren loss to West Coast in round eight was – at the time – the worst experience of his football career.
One week later, he hit a new low, when North gave up a five-goal final-quarter lead to lose to the Crows by one point.
But Wright believes the Adelaide loss might be a turning point for the Roos' season.
"I can't describe the feeling and emotion after that game, it was just the worst I've ever felt in my football career," Wright says.
"But we've drawn a line in the sand. We know we can't let that happen again.
"I've never seen the boys so determined as they were on the training track this week.
"We just want to work hard, fix up the things that are letting us down and put all of this behind us.
"If we can do that, this season is still very much alive for us."
Wright is the latest in a raft of re-signings at North this year that has included coach Brad Scott, co-vice-captains Jack Ziebell and Drew Petrie, star midfielder Daniel Wells, Shaun Atley, Jamie Macmillan, Robbie Tarrant and Scott McMahon.
Nick Bowen covers North Melbourne news for AFL.com.au. Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_Nick