RESURGENT Demon Angus Brayshaw has credited a frank meeting with co-captain Nathan Jones and coach Simon Goodwin for putting his season back on track.
Eyebrows were raised outside of Melbourne, and possibly by Brayshaw, when the No.3 draft pick from 2014 missed senior selection in round one.
That snub continued for three weeks – and Brayshaw has exclusively revealed why on AFL.com.au podcast AFL Exchange.
Goodwin told reporters after Brayshaw's best-on-ground performance in the 91-point victory over Adelaide on Sunday that the midfielder's "habits weren't right" early in the season.
"I always felt, and that's where the frustration really came from, that footy wasn't the problem," Brayshaw said.
"I might have had 20-odd touches and kicked a couple of goals (in JLT Two) and I felt like I played a role for the team and did that well, but obviously there were a few things that were inconsistent.
"There were 30 blokes who could have been picked (in round one) and I wasn't picked, and that's when I looked to internalise a few things, and went into myself and maybe wasn't the best teammate.
"I probably didn't take it that well, and then how can 'Goody' reward me with a selection the next week when that's how I conducted myself?"
Jones initiated a discussion between himself, Goodwin and Brayshaw to address the lingering issues that were preventing one of the club's brightest talents from playing in the AFL.
This latest setback came after the 22-year-old suffered his fourth concussion in 12 months in May last year after he burst onto the scene to play 21 games in 2015.
Brayshaw has played no more than 10 matches in any season since his debut campaign.
"We had an honest conversation – me, 'Goody' and Nath Jones, being a mentor of mine and a really good mate who genuinely cares about how I'm going and what I'm doing," he said.
"We just spoke about a few things and how to turn it all around, in terms of the way I was responding.
"Goody's been great, because he was honest about why I wasn't playing … and also, which I really appreciated, (he told me) 'Here's the road map to get yourself back to playing'.
"They were huge in getting me through all that and I think now I've come out a better player."
Brayshaw stopped short of saying his period in VFL purgatory was a good thing, but that he had "grown as a man" throughout the process.
His spike in form coincided with the Demons' dominant five-match winning streak, with the former Sandringham Dragon winning at least 21 disposals in all of them and 30 twice.
Sunday's game against the Crows was his best: a career-high 37 possessions, 14 marks, 12 score involvements and three goals.
"I always knew I could play like this. It's not surprising me – it might be surprising a few people out there, because I've had a tough road to get to here," Brayshaw said.
"But I always knew this was the type of footy I could produce, and to finally be playing like this, I don't know what the right word to describe it is.
"Now that we're winning games as well; satisfying is probably not a deep enough level of word – (it's) fulfillment.
"For all the hard work and all the things I've been through … it's a real deep sense of fulfillment."
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