SAM TAYLOR has added tips from his childhood hero, Lance Franklin, to his defensive arsenal as the in-form Giants defender prepares to battle Richmond spearhead Tom Lynch on Friday night.
Like most young Hawthorn supporters growing up in the 2000s, Taylor idolised 'Buddy'.
Taylor, now aged 22, has played on his childhood hero twice this year and arguably had the better of Sydney's superstar early in each clash before Franklin hit the scoreboard more in the second halves.
"After years of watching him play, then I'm playing on him - just some kid from [Perth suburb] Bullsbrook - playing on Lance Franklin is crazy," Taylor said.
"It was funny that he gave me a tip when I was playing on him.
"But I bet next time I play on him I'll be a lot more comfortable. I've had my two warm-ups this year."
When the opponent giving you on-field advice is a modern-day great with more than 300 games of experience, it's worth putting any mind games aside and just taking it on board.
"The tip was just making sure I get my body closer to his body, because there was one incident in the last quarter where he pushed me over," Taylor said.
"He was like 'Do you want a tip? Just make sure you get your body, your hips closer to mine which stops me from pushing you over, stops me from using my arms to push you'.
"I obviously thanked him for it, and he was like 'Yep, use that'."
Taylor is also learning from regularly playing on the top forwards in the League and last week held Geelong's reigning Coleman medallist Tom Hawkins to one goal while winning five of their nine one-on-one battles.
At the same time, the 196cm defender gathered 21 disposals, which included 17 intercept possessions and eight intercept marks, and was one of the undermanned Giants' best in their rousing victory.
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Taylor is now hoping to carry that form into a crunch clash with Richmond and Tom Lynch on Friday night, especially after restricting the spearhead to only one goal when the teams played a four-point thriller earlier this season.
Lynch is sure to come out firing after being under scrutiny for kicking only two goals in the Tigers' past three matches and being held scoreless last week against North Melbourne.
"I've always been comfortable playing on those key players ever since playing in the Grand Final against Dustin Martin. If you can play on him in a Grand Final, I think you can play on anyone," Taylor said.
"I do find Lynch is a great player and he's one of the best when he's up and going. He's similar to [Charlie] Dixon and Hawkins, so hopefully playing on those guys previously helps me play well on him.
"I gave him an easy one back in round nine on the goalline, which I got told off for, but I want to just stay pretty relaxed and just do my thing, start defensive and stay on his back and try to read the ball from there.
"Besides the first game I played on him he hasn't really tried to niggle me, not too much or at all, but I like a bit of niggle."
The clash with the Tigers will be Taylor's 50th match for the Giants after being selected at pick No.28 in the 2017 NAB AFL Draft.
To reach the milestone Taylor has had to overcome a serious infection that hospitalised him in 2020, and a syndesmosis injury sustained against West Coast in round 10 this season that sidelined him for six weeks.
Taylor has played five matches since returning and feels he is now back to full fitness and ready to take on the Tigers in a match that will leave the winner sitting in the top eight with one round to play.
"I feel like we have a bit more confidence and energy at the moment," Taylor said.
"This is do or die. This is a little mini-final. This is a game we need a win and we're just going to give it our all."