DAVID Ellard says he needs to add more strings to his football bow to re-establish himself as a senior Blue in 2014.
Carlton reiterated its faith in Ellard late last month, re-signing the hard-working small for 2014 despite his return of just 13 games in the past two seasons.
The former rookie established himself as a senior regular in 2011, playing 19 games in a breakthrough season.
But Ellard struggled for opportunities in 2012 despite solid VFL form, playing 10 games as Andrew Carrazzo, Ed Curnow and Dennis Armfield handled most of the Blues' run-with roles.
Then, for the first time in his career, Ellard was hit hard by injury this year, with a hamstring tear delaying his start to the season and a calf tendon injury suffered in round seven against St Kilda sidelining him for 15 weeks.
AFL.com.au spoke to Ellard on Tuesday from the Blues' second high-altitude training camp in Arizona, where the temperature had plummeted to -21 degrees the previous night.
The 24-year-old says that with his body now "100 per cent" he is back in full training and has not missed a pre-season session so far.
The former Swan Districts player is also in no doubt about what he has to do to cement himself in Carlton's best 22 next year.
"I have to make sure I have enough strings to my bow to play multiple roles because I don't want to be considered as just a tagger or an inside mid," Ellard said.
"I've got to make sure that I can adapt to playing up forward, through the midfield, out on a wing, anywhere the coach sees fit.
"I've got to be able to adapt to whatever the coaching staff throw at me on game day. If I don't, I won't play many games."
Ellard has already shown an ability to hurt opposition teams on the scoreboard with his trusty foot skills. In 2011, he kicked 15 goals, including a bag of three goals against Melbourne in round 20 and four two-goal games.
Whether playing in the midfield or in attack, in a negating or attacking role, Ellard says it's important he capitalises on opportunities in front of goal.
"Even when I start in attack I sort of play a bit higher forward than closer to goal," he said.
"But I try to take every opportunity that I get because it's really important to hit the scoreboard when you can.
"As I said, it's all part of having other strings to your bow."
Ellard is relishing his time in Arizona, knowing it will help him build the fitness base he'll need to tackle what shapes as a crunch 2014 season.
The Blues' camp is based about 2km above sea level and since arriving a week ago the players have already hiked down and run up the Grand Canyon, and climbed the 3852m Humphreys Peak – the highest summit in Arizona – much of it through deep snow.
Ellard said the fitness benefits of training at high altitude are crucial, but spending two weeks together as a team was also hugely beneficial.
"It's great to be fully fit now and training and involved in everything, especially over here," he said.
"The camp is a great chance for us to really work hard as a group and become a lot more united, especially with some of the new draftees.
"It's worked out well that they've been able to come over and bond with the group."