SAM FROST had just played arguably the best game of his career.

"Exceptional" was how Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin defined Frost's performance, after the Demons' victory over Fremantle in round 14 last year.

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Yet it was another of Goodwin's descriptors – "Frost-ball" – that captured most of the attention.

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"We call it (that) he turns our ball movement into 'Frost-ball' and no one knows what's happening – but neither does the opposition," Goodwin said, followed by one of those trademark smirks of his.

This was new and amusing information for the press corps and general footy fans but not so to Frost and his then-Melbourne teammates, who were very familiar with the term.

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At 194cm, Frost has the size to defend many key forwards but it's his speed off the mark that is, perhaps, his defining ability as an AFL footballer.

Just ask evasive Eagle Jack Petruccelle, who Frost chased down last year. No player defended a lead better than him in the 2019 season.

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Frost can switch onto the best small forwards, too – but it's his knack for going for a trot from his defensive 50, often while dodging opponents, before eventually kicking that Goodwin was referring to.

"I think he coined the phrase internally and he definitely used it the most, anyway, for quite a while before he mentioned it in the press conference," Frost told AFL.com.au.

"I really liked it. The whole concept is a little bit frantic, high intensity, and all a bit unpredictable.

"It kind of made it more of a positive than anything for me. The name is a bit funny and I definitely had a laugh at it whenever he brought it up."

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The phrase hasn't followed Frost to Waverley Park, after the Demons traded him to Hawthorn last year, but Hawks backline coach Chris Newman encourages his daring style.

At the same time, Frost said: "My main job is to defend and be a part of the system, and if those opportunities present themselves, then by all means it's a little strength in my game."

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The 26-year-old is a self-described journeyman onto his third AFL club, having started at Greater Western Sydney then spending five seasons at Melbourne.

Now, he's the newest piece of Hawthorn's defensive puzzle, after playing every game in a season for the first time.

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However, it wasn't long ago that Frost was way down the Demons' backline pecking order, instead plying his trade most weeks at VFL level for Casey.

"The last year-and-a-bit all seems pretty good but before that it was really in and out of the side, with stints in the VFL, which, in my opinion, is a pretty natural part of the journey," he said.

"But it's by no means easy to deal with at the time. In hindsight, I had to work my way through that to get to where I am now but at the time you do tend to ride those highs and lows."

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Those experiences are partly why Frost is interested in working in a welfare role once his career ends, potentially at a football club.

He completed a short course in adolescent counselling at Monash University last year, and also has a certificate of player development through the AFL SportsReady program.

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"I just see the different challenges and struggles that face a lot of guys who are still developing, in terms of their personality, intellectually, all sorts of things," Frost said.

"Young people have a number of challenges they have to work through themselves, which is fine, but it'd be nice for me to be able to help people talk through challenges and share experiences, which I think is more closely aligned to football.

"Having been traded a couple of times, having some good years and some pretty poor years, there are a lot of different things I'd like to think I can relate to people with."

Away from football, Frost lives a private existence at his Elwood home, with one of his Hawthorn teammates recently joking the ex-Demon would have enjoyed isolation more than anyone else.

He plays video games and also likes to draw, which he finds "therapeutic".

That low-key lifestyle is a far cry from what Frost is preparing for on Friday night against the Hawks' arch-rival Geelong.

"The occasion will be so different to previous years, because there will be no crowds, but I'd like to think the game will still be heated," he said.

"It's such a strong and rich rivalry that's produced a lot of high-quality games, so that in itself is going to be great to be a part of."