PETER Wright entered the season as a leading candidate to be the first player picked at this year's NAB AFL Draft, a weight that wore him down.
The Calder Cannons big man struggled at times with the pressure that he was placing on himself to perform, and felt his every kick, mark or handball was being scrutinised.
Having dealt with ongoing back and hamstring complaints heading into the season, it was always likely he started a little slower.
He worked his way into things ahead of the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships, and played some strong games towards the end of the TAC Cup season.
A knee injury in the preliminary final ruled him out of the TAC Cup Grand Final and from testing at the draft combine, but Wright will step into a club ready to start pre-season after recovering from the ligaments sprain.
Everyone will have an opinion where Wright plays his best footy – in the ruck or as a leading and marking centre-half forward – and that's part of the reason he'll be an attractive proposition for some clubs.
As a ruckman, Wright can move around the ground, get involved at the tap-outs and use his footy nous to make an impact. His best game of the championships came as a ruckman when, against South Australia, he kicked three goals from 16 disposals, pulled in 10 marks and had 29 hit-outs.
For the Cannons he tended to be more of a true leading forward, using his endurance and agility to push up the ground. And when the ball is in his window, opponents find it hard to spoil Wright's marking attempts.
He had an enormous game late in the season for the Cannons, gathering 29 disposals, hauling in 14 marks and kicking four goals, which confirmed his talent. A key trait of Wright's is his elite kicking, and he is one of the best shots at goal in the draft pool.
Wright can be more consistent in his marking and occasionally gets pushed out of contests and under the ball a little too easily. Because of his back and related injuries over the years he hasn't done as much core strength work as other players.
If he can put on some muscle and then start to throw it around a bit more, he'll be hard to beat.
There's a bit of Brad Ottens about Wright in his ability to be used as a key forward and ruckman and be very good at both. Ottens was also an excellent kick for goal for a taller player, one of Wright's key strengths and a point of difference for a forward his size.
He has been forecast as a possible No.1 pick for some time but that appears unlikely now. Set to be picked in the next handful of picks after that.
It's hard to find players who are 203cm, let alone ones who possess the attributes of Wright.